What you need to know about the Small Claims Courts

small claims courts

For some, smaller debts can just be written off. But for many, maybe you, being paid these “smaller” debts might be just what you need to survive this month. This is where the Small Claims Courts come in. The Small Claims Courts make it possible to claim these “smaller” debts where it would not be financially viable to bring in the more expensive Magistrates Court. In this post we will discuss what exactly the Small Claims Courts are.


What are the Small Claims Courts?

  • The Small Claims Courts deal with civil (not criminal) matters.
  • Anyone can use the Small Claims Courts except for juristic persons such as Companies and Close Corporations.
  • If you are under the age of 18, you have to be assisted by a parent or legal guardian.
  • You can institute a claim against anyone except the state. This includes companies and associations.
  • You can claim up to R 15 000. If your claim exceeds this amount, you may claim for a lesser amount to pursue your case in the Small Claims Court.
  • You do not need a lawyer to represent you in the Small Claims Courts.
  • If you want, you can get legal advice before going to court. The court has legal assistants and clerks who can help you for free.
  • You can use any of the official languages in court.
  • A commissioner hears the case, not a judge or magistrate. The commissioner will listen to both sides of the story and ask questions.
  • The above allows for speedy, affordable and simple dispute resolution.
  • You cannot appeal a decision of the Small Claims Court. You can ask for the case to be reviewed if you feel that the commissioner was unfair or biased.
  • For more information you can visit here.

Need help?

Need advice on a civil claim that exceeds the limit for the Small Claims Courts? Please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

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