Small Claims Court opens here

2017-04-25 06:01
Danie Rossouw

Danie Rossouw

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The first sitting of the new Small Claims Court in Simon’s Town will take place on Tuesday 2 May.

Local attorney Danie Rossouw will be presiding as one of the first commissioners (as the judges in these courts are known), to adjudicate on matters on that day.

Rossouw has served as commissioner in the Wynberg Small Claims Court since 2002 and received a certificate in recognition of long and dedicated service, pro bono from the justice ­minister.

The Small Claims Court is regulated by the Small Claims Court Act of 1984, which came into effect in October 1985. The aim of the small claims system is to make justice inexpensive and accessible in a speedy, affordable and simple manner without using an attorney and where claims do not exceed R15 000.

Legal assistants and clerks of the small claims courts will help claimants for free.

Companies cannot approach the small claims courts to settle disputes. Any of the official languages can be used in the court and the commissioner hears each side of the story and asks questions before making a ruling.

The commissioner examines evidence and questions everyone to establish the facts and come to a fair decision.

“As courts of equity, the small claims courts gives both parties to a claim the opportunity to present their cases in person, without the aid of an attorney,” says Rossouw. “The success of a small claims court depends by and large on members of the legal fraternity, attorneys, advocates and legal academics, being willing to interrupt busy schedules to preside, unpaid, as commissioners. I am grateful that colleague attorney Anna Cornelius will initially be sharing the workload on hearing matters on a roster basis. We are hopeful that more local attorneys and advocates will make themselves available to preside as commissioners in the new Simon’s Town Small Claim Court.”

The Simon’s Town Small Claims Court will have fortnightly hearings on Tuesdays at 16:30 with more frequent sessions being planned as the caseload increases.

Members of the public who want to initiate actions in the Simon’s Town court, may visit the clerk of the Small Claims Court at the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court during normal office hours.

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