Small Claims Court
Do you have a claim against an individual or a business for an amount that does not exceed R20,000.00?
If yes, then consider approaching the Small Claims Court to recover the amount as opposed to litigating in the Magistrate’s Court. The reason for this is because the Small Claims Court was specifically established for an individual to obtain quick, inexpensive relief by following a simple court procedure.
It is important to bear in mind that only a natural person may institute proceedings in the Small Claims Court, however, juristic persons (companies, partnerships etc), excluding the State, may be sued.
Once proceedings have been instituted, the parties must appear in person and may not be represented in Court. A juristic person, however, must be represented by a duly appointed director or other officer.
There are certain matters that the Small Claims Court may not adjudicate upon whatsoever, such as matrimonial disputes, matters involving the interpretation of wills, or the status of a person in respect of their mental capacity, to name a few.
The procedure in the Court is simple as the defendant must receive a letter of demand from the plaintiff at least fourteen days prior to the issuing of the summons. No further pleadings are necessary, but the defendant may file a written statement setting out his/her defence. The commissioner will then deal with the matter further and ultimately make an order.