Mrs B is owing Zainab 4 million naira. She has owed her for about 2 years now and Zainab is at her wit’s end.
She wants her money, but she’s not sure how to proceed. The constant harassment using the police is not yielding many results.
A friend advised her to go to court, but she does not buy the idea, reasoning that the case could drag on for years and she would have to spend a lot of money in the process.
Zainab needs the money to inject more capital into her business. She’s in a bind
The average person would avoid court cases like a plague. And they would do so due to two reasons: One, they can be quite expensive, and two they seem to drag on for too long.
Introducing the Small Claims Court
The purpose of the Small Claims Court is simple – to provide easy access to a formal, inexpensive and speedy resolution of debt recovery disputes. The claims cannot exceed the sum of 5 Million Naira.
It gets better.
The entire period of proceedings from the filing of the claim till judgment is not to exceed 60 days. The court was recently introduced in Lagos state and was commissioned by the Chief Judge of Lagos state on Monday, 23rd April 2018.
So it’s still new, but it holds a lot of promise already.
Why you should consider the Small Claims Court
Self- Representation is allowed
With this consension, you can reduce or completely eliminate the cost of legal representation. A huge part of litigation fees is what you pay your lawyers, taking that out of the equation gives you more space to breathe.
As much as you may be excited about representing yourself, dealing with complex paperwork isn’t too appealing. Fortunately, the process has been simplified into standard forms.
To initiate a claim, you need to simply approach the court Registry, fill out the relevant forms and file them.
There is a time-limit
60 days is all it takes.
Every step within this process is bound to the 60-day timeline. This includes Service of the forms, response to the claim and even the judgment.
You can file an appeal if not satisfied with the Judgement
If you are not satisfied with the judgment, there is the opportunity to appeal. (This applies to both debtors and creditors).
The appeal must be submitted within 14 of the judgment. However, the whole process from the appeal to judgment must not exceed 30 days.
The courts are close to you
The Small Claims Court is located in all the Magisterial Districts of the Magistrate Courts in Lagos State.
You can initiate action in the Small Claims Court if you meet the criteria below:
- You reside in Lagos or your business is in Lagos
- The defendant (debtor in this case) resides in Lagos or carries out his business in Lagos
- The cause of the action arose wholly or partly in Lagos
- The money owed in question does not exceed N5,000,000
Debts are a huge aspect of running a business. Facilitating the easy recovery of the debt for businesses could go a long way in easing the many difficulties and challenges businesses face in Nigeria.
If you are interested in using the Small Claims Court to recover or settle a debt and you need some advice, send us a mail at …… and we’ll get in touch with you ASAP.