By Suoyo Ekubo
The Rivers State Judiciary in collaboration with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has inaugurated a do-it-yourself kind Court called the Small Claims Court on Thursday 9 February 2023 at the Hon. Justice Mary Odili Judiciary Institute in Port Harcourt.
Small Claims Court is court where people can go to settle their differences in cases involving liquidated money claims not exceeding Five Hundred Million Naira. It has less formal and less complicated rules and procedures than other courts. The Small Claims Court is a Court of Law but it is not designed for Lawyers.
As a business owner who is thinking of recovering debts, the thought of going through a lengthy court trial would be definitely be discouraging. Also court trials are known to be expensive and rigid. Court adjournments and technicalities could prolong a simple case and make it last for years.
In order to address ease of doing business in Nigeria, the Presidential Enabling Business Council (PEBEC), was inaugurated, operating under the office of the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, the Council introduced 140 reforms and one of the reforms put in place to address this ease was the introduction of the specialized Small Claims Court in Nigeria.
In his address, the Hon. Chief Judge of Rivers State, Hon. Justice Simeon Chibuzor Amadi said the Small Claims Court informal, inexpensive and speedy resolution of issues. He also said that the Small Claims Court focuses on recovering of debts of about Five Hundred Million Naira.
On her part, the Special adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business Dr. Jumoke Oduwole commended the Rivers State judiciary adopting the Small Claims Court in the State. She said the Small Claims court is a catalyst for decongesting the High Court for quick dispatch of cases. “We are really grateful that Rivers State has adopted this reform,” She said.
A Small Claims Court can be filled in the Small Claims Court Registry located in every Magisterial District. It can be filled where you or the person you are claiming from lives, works or does business in any part of the state.