Law Clinix

Knowledge is power and your peace of mind

Small Claims Court


The Small Claims Court is situated at any Magistrates Court in South Africa.


 WHO MAY INSTITUTE A CLAIM?

  •  Anyone except juristic persons such as Companies, Close Corporations and Associations.
  •  A person under 18 must be assisted by a parent or legal guardian.


AGAINST WHOM MAY A CLAIM BE INSTITUTED?

  •  With the exception of the State, against anyone, including Companies, Close Corporations and Associations.
  •  NB: Please note that claims cannot be instituted against Municipalities/Local  Government in a Small Claims Court.


WHAT AMOUNT CAN BE CLAIMED?

  •  An amount not exceeding R 15 000-00. (This amount is determined by the Minister  from time to time in the Government Gazette.
  •  If your claim exceeds R 15 000-00 in value, you can institute a claim for a lesser  amount to pursue your case in the Small Claims Court.


LIST OF CAUSES OF ACTION AND EXAMPLES

Action for repayment of monies Owed

This is where the plaintiff has borrowed money to the defendant and the defendant has failed to pay back the money either during the stipulated time as per their agreement or upon demand by the plaintiff. The money owed should not exceed R 12 000-00.                     

Action for the delivery of movable or immovable property

Where the defendant’s indebtedness to the plaintiff arises from property that the defendant had bought from the plaintiff and fails to pay for the property, the plaintiff can sue the defendant in the Small Claims Court. Examples of the property sold and delivered would include furniture or a piece of land not  exceeding R 15 000-00 in value.

Action against an occupier of a property                                                                           

These are usually actions where the defendant’s rental of the plaintiff’s property is in arrears and the rental arrear amount does not exceed R 15 000-00

Actions arising from liquid documents                                                                  

These are actions wherein the plaintiff’s claim is based on a document such as an acknowledgement of debt, a mortgage bond, a promissory note or a cheque as is the case maybe where the amount does not exceed R 15 000-00.                                                                                                           

Actions arising from Credit Agreements as prescribed in terms of section 1 of the Credit Agreement Act, 1980 (Act 75 of 1980)                     

These are actions wherein the plaintiff is a sole proprietor who sometimes provides credit facilities to his/her customers. Where the defendant has failed to pay his/ her installments in terms of the credit agreement and the arrear payment does not exceed R 15 000-00 the sole proprietor may                  approach the Small Claims Court for relief.                                                              

Actions for damages                                                                                                     

The plaintiff may also sue the defendant for damages arising, for example from a motor vehicle accident wherein the damage to the plaintiff’s motor vehicle does not exceed R 15 000-00 when assessed.


ARE YOU COMPELLED TO INSTITUTE YOUR CASE IN THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT?

  • No, you may choose whether you want to institute your case in the Small Claims Court or any other competent court.

LEGAL REPRESENTATION AND ASSISTANCE IN THE PREPARATION OF YOUR CLAIM

  • Representation by an attorney or advocate is not allowed. You may, however, obtain prior advice from an attorney at your own cost.
  • Legal assistants and clerks of the Small Claims Courts will assist you, free of charge.


INTERPRETERS

  • Any of the official languages of South Africa may be used in the court.
  • Arrangements for an interpreter must be made with the clerk of the court beforehand if evidence is to be given in a language in which one of the parties is not sufficiently conversant.


WHAT MATTERS ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURT?

  • Claims exceeding R 15 000-00 in value.
  • Claims against the State (including the Municipality/ Local Government).
  • Claims based on the cession or the transfer of rights.
  • Claims for damages in respect of defamation, malicious prosecution, wrongful imprisonment, wrongful arrest, seduction and breach of promise to marry.
  • Claims for the dissolution of a marriage.
  • Claims concerning the validity of a will.
  • Claims concerning the status of a person in respect of their mental capacity.
  • Claims in which specific performance is sought without an alternative claim for payment of damages, except in the case of a claim for rendering an account or transferring movable or immovable property not exceeding R 15 000-00  in value.


 

FORM DOWNLOAD FOR APPLICANTS AND RESPONDENTS

Small Claims Act
Small Claims Court Act 61.1974 .pdf (188.41KB)
Small Claims Act
Small Claims Court Act 61.1974 .pdf (188.41KB)


 

Complaint Form
Complaint Form.pdf (51.96KB)
Complaint Form
Complaint Form.pdf (51.96KB)


 

Summons Small Claims
Summons J141E.pdf (44.22KB)
Summons Small Claims
Summons J141E.pdf (44.22KB)


 

Do you find this page helpful:

  Yes   No