Remarks By Dr. Jumoke Oduwole At The Launch Of The Small Claims Courts In Kano State

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Friday, January 25, 2019 11:54 AM / Office Of The Vice President

 

Protocols

  • Ag. Chief Judge of Kano State, Hon. Justice Nura Sagir
  • Attorney General of Kano State —Mallam Ibrahim Mukhtar
  • Judges of the High Court of Kano State
  • Chief Registrar of the High Court of Kano State, Mr. Jamilu Shehu Suleiman
  • Khadis of the Sharia Court of Appeal
  • Your Worships, Senior Magistrates of the Kano state Judiciary
  • Judges and Magistrates of the Sharia Court of Appeal
  • Chairmen of the Nigerian Bar Association, Kano & Ungougo Branches
  • Learned Colleagues
  • Gentlemen of the press
  • Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

 

It is indeed my pleasure to be here this morning at the Launch of the Small Claims Courts in Kano State. 

Firstly, I want to specially appreciate the dedicated team who is primarily responsible for our being here today, led by the Acting Chief Judge of Kano State, Hon. Justice Nura Sagir and ably supported by (i) the Attorney General of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Mukhtar, (ii) the Chief Registrar of the Kano State High Court, Mr. Jamilu Shehu Suleiman, and (iii) the Reform Champion for the Kano State Judiciary, Alhaji Abdu Maiwada. Thank you for your commitment towards making today a reality. 

Since the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in 2016, we have continued to collaborate with the Kano State Government, including the Kano State Judiciary, on business climate reforms for the State. 

The launch of the Small Claims Courts today is yet another proof of our successful collaboration and how working together can yield great results. 

Many might wonder, why set up these courts? It was essential for these courts to be in place to improve the judicial process for promptly resolving commercial disputes involving small claims of up to N5m and below. 

For Nigeria, the World Bank Doing Business Rankings tracks both Lagos and Kano States, being the two largest business cities in the Country. 

The reform area/indicator known as Enforcing Contracts focuses mainly on the reforms of the judiciary and how cases are handled in the small Claims Court within the State from filing all the way to delivery and enforcement of judgement. 

Nigeria currently ranks 92 in the world out of 190 economies. What this means is that there is so much opportunity for improvement which will translate to an upward movement on the World Bank Rankings, hence the establishment of the Small Claims Courts. 

These courts will provide easy access as well as inexpensive and speedy resolution for debt recovery disputes. The courts would be regulated by the Practice Directions on Small Claims 2018 (“Practice Directions”) issued by the Acting Chief Judge of Kano State pursuant to the Magistrate Court Law of 2018.

 

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Some key feature of the Small Claims Courts include:

  • Specialized courts with simplified procedures to fast track simple commercial claims of N5, 000,000 and below.
  • The Court may in the interest of justice, relax the application of the rules of evidence.
  • Cases will be randomly assigned to Magistrates.
  • Self-representation is encouraged by the Court.
  • Strict timelines for the following key court events: (i) service of process (within 7 days of filing of court summons); (ii) filing of the statement of defense (within 7 days of service of summons); and (iii) delivery of final judgment (within 14 days of the completion of hearing).
  • Hearings are conducted from day to day as far as practicable and parties may only be granted one adjournment during the entire proceedings. Adjournment or continuance which may be granted are limited to an unforeseen and exceptional circumstances.
  • All claims which are filed at the Small Claims Court are expected to be heard and judgment delivered within a maximum period of 60 days.
  • The practices and procedures of the Small Claims Courts are set out in the Small Claims Courts Practice Directions.

 

These courts are set to make judicial dispensation easier in Kano State. I implore all stakeholders to take advantage of the Small Claims Courts; tell more stakeholders about the courts. It can only be as efficient as we want it to be if we engage and use them. 

We know that with committed hands, unrelenting support and our continued collaboration with the Kano State Judiciary, the judiciary will be as strong as we all desire it to be. 

I congratulate the Ag. Chief Registrar Once again and the entire Kano State Judiciary on the successful commissioning of the Small Claims Court. Thank you for the Opportunity to be here. 

 

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