‘The judiciary is looking towards using the bottom-up approach’, says Magistrate Gakii
Milimani Small Claims Court Resident Magistrate Susan Gakii says the judiciary is employing the ‘bottom-up approach to address the issue of case backlog, a move she says she is excited about.
"I'm excited about the future of the Small Claims Courts with regards to access of justice and also with regards to realizing the Chief Justice's vision. The judiciary is looking towards using the bottom-up approach to ensure that justice is delivered to everyone," said Gakii.
“I can see that we will efficiently deal with the issue of case delays and case backlog,” she added.
Speaking on Citizen TV's Day Break show Wednesday, Gakii said people are not aware that they do not have to incur legal costs of paying advocates to access justice.
“It is not a must to have legal representation with the small claims court... you can come to court, file your claim and actually get a judgment in your favor,” she said.
“As adjudicators in the court, we are very accommodative, especially to people who are not represented,” added Gakii.
“We make you feel at home; we ask you which language you want to use and provide facilities for interpreters.”
Gakii also noted that the Judiciary is working on opening more Small Claims Courts within Nairobi and across the other counties.
Established by the Small Claims Act 2016, the Small Claims Court saw its first station opened in April this year.
Where parties are not happy with the ruling, they can apply for a review within a month or even appeal in the High Court where the case is resolved. Cases from the Small Claims Court do not proceed to the Court of Appeal.
The court deals with claims relating to a contract for the sale and supply of goods and services, compensation for personal injuries, and counter-claims.
Gakii noted that the Small Claims Court, however, does not handle land dispute matters, even if the land in question is valued under Ksh. 1Million, malicious prosecution matters, defamation cases, and employment and labor relations matters.
She further noted that so far, over Ksh. 250 million has been awarded through the court.
The term “bottom-up” has lately been tossed around a lot since Deputy President William Ruto began using it in his 2022 presidential bid campaign.
The approach is a way of making corporate decisions that starts from the bottom of the hierarchy, rather than the top.