Small Claims Courts Act
- Commenced on 19 February 1993
- [This is the version of this document from 23 June 2017 and includes any amendments published up to 31 December 2017.]
- [Note: This version of the Act was revised and consolidated by the Law Development Commission of Zimbabwe]
- [Amended by Judicial Laws Amendment (Ease of Settling Commercial and Other Disputes) Act, 2017 (Act 7 of 2017) on 23 June 2017]
SIs 136/1996, 158/2000, 30/2002, 159/2004, 151/2007, 126/2008, 58/2009, 36/2016.]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.
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Small Claims Courts Act [Chapter 7:12].
2. InterpretationIn 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 and designation of small claims courts
4. Nature of small claims courts and force of process
5. Small claims courts open to publicSubject 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
Part III – Officers of small claims courts
7. Presiding officers
8. Other officers
Part IV – Jurisdiction of small claims courts
9. Area of jurisdictionThe area of jurisdiction of a small claims court shall be the province for which it is established.
10. Jurisdiction in respect of persons and causes of action
11. Limits of jurisdiction in respect of causes of action
12. Where small claims court does not have jurisdictionA small claims court shall not have jurisdiction in respect of—
13. Abandonment of claim
14. Deduction of admitted debtIn order to bring a claim or counterclaim within the jurisdiction of a small claims court, a party may expressly, in his summons or counterclaim, deduct any amount, whether liquidated or unliquidated, which he admits he owes to the other party.
15. Splitting of claims disallowedA claim exceeding the jurisdiction of a small claims court shall not be split with the object of recovering it in more than one action in a small claims court, if the parties to those actions and the point at issue in those actions would be the same.
16. No jurisdiction by consentA small claims court shall not have jurisdiction to hear an action which is beyond its jurisdiction by virtue of the consent of the parties.
17. Small claims court may stop proceedings
18. Agreement to exclude jurisdiction of small claims court not validAny provision in any agreement to the effect that a small claims court shall not have jurisdiction in the event of a dispute shall be of no effect:Provided that a provision to the effect that any dispute shall be resolved by arbitration shall be valid.
Part V – Procedure and evidence in small claims courts
20. EvidenceA party in an action before a small claims court may call one or more witnesses to prove his claim, defence or counter-claim, as the case may be, but the presiding officer shall have a discretion to order that no further evidence may be adduced on any matter which he considers has been sufficiently established.
21. Evidence on oath or affirmation
22. Institution of actions
23. Satisfaction of claims
Part VI – Judgment and costs
24. JudgmentA small claims court may, after determining an action—
25. Judgment by default or by consent
26. Rescission, variation and correction of judgmentsThe court may, for good cause shown—
Part VII – Execution of judgment
28. Orders of small claims courts
29. Enforcement of judgment
Part VIII – General
29A. Stay of executionSubject to rules of court, a small claims court may, for good cause shown, suspend the execution of any judgment of the court on such terms and conditions as the court thinks just.[section inserted by section 10 of Act 14/2002]
30. Finality of judgmentA judgment of a small claims court shall be final and no appeal shall lie from it, but any party may bring the proceedings on review before the High Court on any grounds on which the High Court may review proceedings of judicial tribunals.
31. Rules of small claims courts
32. Contempt of small claims courts
33. Other courts to have parallel jurisdictionNothing in this Act shall be construed as depriving any other court of its jurisdiction to hear and determine any matter which, by this Act, is declared to be within the jurisdiction of a small claims court.
History of this document
23 June 2017 this version
19 February 1993