Small Claims Court procedures

2018-02-07 06:00

THE Small Claims Court operates out of the Magistrate’s Court in Greytown and sits once or twice a month depending on the number of cases.

Anyone as an individual (no companies, corporates or associations) can institute a claim not exceeding R15 000. With the exception of the State, municipalities and local government, claims can be instituted against anyone, companies, corporates and other entities that fall within the area of jurisdiction of the court.

If after contacting the person either face to face, telephonically or in writing, and there is still no payment, then approach the Small Claim clerk at the Magistrate’s Court. He or she will give you a letter of demand to complete in duplicate. The letter then has to be delivered in person or by registered post. If no payment is received after 14 days you again approach the court clerk with proof that the letter of demand was received by the defendant.The next step is that the clerk will assist with the framing of a basic summons and allocate the case and a date for the hearing in the small claims court. You have to then serve this summons on the defendant.

Unless the defendant denies liability in writing to the court, he or she has to appear in court on the stipulated date, or pay up prior to that date and pay your costs. In court itself, have all the papers relevant to the case with you and relevant witnesses. No advocates or attorneys are allowed to appear for you in this court. A ruling is given by the commissioner after the defendant has presented his or her case.If you win, the defendant has to pay you, usually within seven days. If the money is still not forthcoming you can apply for a warrant of execution against the defendant’s moveable property. The case is then transferred to the Magistrate’s Court. No appeal may be filed against the judgment or order of the court.

THE SUPREME WILL TAKE IT ON REVIEW ONLY ON ONE OF THESE CRITERIA:

• absence of jurisdiction by the court;

• interest in the case, bias or corruption on the part of the commissioner; or

• gross irregularity on the part of the commissioner.

Many people do not take action when owed money because of high legal cost.

As long as your claim falls within the gambit of the Small Claims Court and follows the criteria mentioned above, take it the Small Claims Court.

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