THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT:
Most people are unaware of the Small Claims Court and the services that the Court actually provides. There are definite advantages to lodging a claim through the Small Claims Court, as it is an informal and fairly quick process.
WHAT IS THE MONETARY LIMIT IN THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT?
The Small Claims Court deals with claims from R0.00-R15 000.00 (FIFTEEN THOUSAND RAND). Anything over R15 000.00 must be referred to a Higher Court, which we can assist you with.
WHO CAN REPRESENT ME AT THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT?
Claimants at the Small Claims court must represent themselves. Legal representation is not allowed. The Commissioner that adjudicates the matter will assist the parties, within reason.
WHO CAN INSTITUTE A CLAIM IN THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT?
A person who has a claim to the limit of R15 000.00 may institute a claim provided that they are above the age of 18 years old, or where they are a minor, they are to be represented by a parent or guardian.
It must also be noted that only natural persons can claim and not juristic persons (Companies, Close Corporations, Associations etc. this includes the State).
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF MATTERS USUALLY CLAIMED?
- REPAYMENT OF MONIES LOANED;
- CLAIMING FOR GOODS DUE AND OWING;
- CLAIMING FOR MONIES SUCH AS DEPOSITS FROM LEASED PREMISES ETC.;
- CLAIMING FOR DAMAGES.
- CLAIMS BASED ON CREDIT AGREEMENTS.
WHAT MATTERS MAY I NOT CLAIM FOR?
- QUANTUM ABOVE R15000.00;
- DISSOLUTION OF A MARRIAGE OR CHANGE OF STATUS; AND
- ANYTHING INVOLVING WILLS AND TESTAMENTARY WRITINGS.
WHAT WOULD I NEED TO INSTITUTE A CLAIM?
You would approach the court and issue a letter of demand. If the payment has not been made within the 14 days of demand, the court will assist you to prepare a summons and it will be sent by sheriff to be served on the other side. On the court day you must bring proof of service of the summons.
WHAT HAPPENS IN COURT ON MY COURT DATE?
The process is simple. The Commissioner will ask the parties questions and allow each party to tell their side of the story. The Commissioner is a “judge” and will make a decision that is a legally binding court judgment.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE OPPOSING PARTY DOES NOT PAY?
You can instruct the sheriff, through the court, to attach the assets of the other side and sell them at a sheriff’s auction.
For any assistance in the process (excluding the necessary representation) or any other legal assistance or queries, contact us on 031 003 0630 or Charmaine@schwenninc.co.za.