Uhuru Adopts Duale's Plan to Rescue Kenya's Economy

President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to the Small Claims Bill, 2020, aimed at solving court cases between small businesses involving Ksh1 million or less as an economic stimulus.

According to a report from PSCU on Friday, May 1, the bill, which was before the president was assented to, enables economic capital caught up in commercial disputes to be reinvested into the economy.

"The Act, which came into effect on  April 30, 2020, enables the Small Claims Court to hear and determine expeditiously disputes involving small and medium-size businesses that do not exceed Ksh1 million.

"Through the new act, the government is keen to support the release of economic capital that is tied up in commercial disputes for re-investment into the economy," PSCU announced.

According to a special issue of the National Gazette dated March 13, 2020, the purpose of the amendment of the act as fronted by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, was to expedite such cases soonest possible.

"The principal object of this Bill is to amend the Small Claims Court Act No. 2 of 2016 in order to promote the effective disposal and management of small claims which affect the small and medium enterprises.

"The bill also seeks to align the Small Claims Court Act with Articles 48 and 50 of the Constitution on access to justice and legal representation," Duale stated on the special gazette.

The bill also seeks to give powers to the courts to determine any civil suit relating to a contract for sale and supply of goods or services and a contract relating to money held and received.

The act also called for the courts to be granted powers to determine civil claims relating to liability in respect of loss or damage caused to any property or for the delivery or recovery of movable property, compensation for personal injuries and to set-off and counterclaim under any contract.

The bill also set the pecuniary jurisdiction of the court at Ksh 200,000, meaning that courts would only deal with cases between Ksh 200,000 and Ksh1 million under the Small Claims Act, not more or less.

The bill also put into focus the time frame in which the cases before a court should be solved based on this act.

"All proceedings before the court on any particular day, so far as is practicable, shall be heard and determined on the same day or on a day to day basis until final determination.

"Judgment given in determination of any claim shall be delivered on the same day and in any event, no later than three (3) days from the date of the hearing," the act reads.

"The court may only adjourn the hearing of any matter under exceptional circumstances which shall be recorded," Duale concluded.

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