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CHAPTER 7:12

Small Claims Courts Act

Acts 20/1992, 8/1996, 22/2001 (s. 4); 14/2002 (s. 10); SIs 136/1996, 158/2000, 30/2002, 159/2004, 151/2007, 126/2008, 58/2009.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

PRELIMINARY Section

  1. Short title.

PART II

ESTABLISHMENT AND NATURE OF SMALL CLAIMS COURTS

  1. Establishment of small claims courts.
  2. Nature of small claims courts and force of process.
  3. Small claims courts open to public.
  4. Parties who may appear.

PART III

OFFICERS OF SMALL CLAIMS COURTS

  1. Presiding officers.
  2. Other officers.

PART IV

JURISDICTION OF SMALL CLAIMS COURTS

  1. Area of jurisdiction.
  2. Jurisdiction in respect of persons and causes of action.
  3. Limits of jurisdiction in respect of causes of action.
  4. Where small claims court does not have jurisdiction.
  5. Abandonment of claim.
  6. Deduction of admitted debt.
  7. Splitting of claims disallowed.
  8. No jurisdiction by consent.
  9. Small claims court may stop proceedings.
  10. Agreement to exclude jurisdiction of small claims court not valid.

PART V

PROCEDURE AND EVIDENCE IN SMALL CLAIMS COURTS

  1. Evidence on oath or affirmation.
  2. Institution of actions.
  3. Satisfaction of claims.

PART VI

JUDGMENT AND COSTS

  1. Judgment by default or by consent.
  2. Rescission, variation and correction of judgments.

PART VII

EXECUTION OF JUDGMENT

  1. Orders of small claims courts.
  2. Enforcement of judgment.

29A. Stay of execution.

PART VIII

GENERAL

  1. Finality of judgment.
  2. Rules of small claims courts.
  3. Contempt of small claims courts.
  4. Other courts to have parallel jurisdiction.

AN ACT to establish small claims courts for the adjudication of small civil claims; to make provision for the jurisdiction, powers and procedure of small claims courts and for the making of rules in connection therewith; and to provide for matters incidental to or connected with the foregoing.

[Date of commencement: 19th February, 1993.]

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1    Short title

This Act may be cited as the Small Claims Courts Act [Chapter 7:12].

                     2    Interpretation

In this Act—

“Minister” means the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs or any other Minister to whom the President may, from time to time, assign the administration of this Act;

“presiding officer” means a presiding officer referred to in subsection (1) of section seven;

“province” means a province created in terms of section 3 of the Magistrates Court Act [Chapter 7:10];

“rules of court” means rules of court made in terms of section thirty-one;

“small claims court” means a small claims court established or designated in terms of section three.

PART II

ESTABLISHMENT AND NATURE OF SMALL CLAIMS COURTS

                     3    Establishment of small claims courts

(1)  The Minister may, by statutory instrument— (a) establish a small claims court for any province; or

(b) designate a magistrates court for any province to be a small claims court for that province.

(2)  Where the Minister has established or designated a small claims court in terms of subsection (1), he shall, by statutory instrument, specify places within the province concerned where the small claims court may sit.

                     4    Nature of small claims courts and force of process

  • Subject to subsection (2), a small claims court shall not be a court of record.
  • Every presiding officer shall—
  • record or cause to be recorded, and shall sign, every judgment or order of court made or given by him; and
  • keep such other records relating to the proceedings of his court as may be required in rules of court.

(3)  The process of every small claims court shall be of force throughout Zimbabwe.

                     5    Small claims courts open to public

Subject to the Courts and Adjudicating Authorities (Publicity Restriction) Act [Chapter 7:04], the proceedings of every small claims court shall be open to the public.

                     6    Parties who may appear

  • Only a natural person may institute proceedings in a small claims court and a corporate body or association of persons may be a party to proceedings therein only as defendant or respondent:

Provided that a corporate body or association of persons that is a defendant or respondent in any proceedings in a small claims court may bring a counterclaim against the person who instituted the proceedings.

  • A party to any proceedings in a small claims court shall appear in person and shall not be represented or assisted by any other person: Provided that—
  • a minor or any other person under a legal disability may be represented by his guardian or legal representative;
  • a corporate body or association of persons may be represented by a director, member or employee.

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