JUSTICE Minister Albert Kawana says he is working tirelessly to table the Small Claims Court Bill in the National Assembly, which is aimed at assisting civilians seeking to resolve disputes over small amounts of money, without lawyers.
Kawana said that he is also working on another new piece of legislation on inheritance, which is aimed at easing the process of inheriting.
“This is also very contentious. When a parent dies, relatives come and grab properties … and the children are left penniless. So we are working on that too,” he said.
The Justice Ministry is also working on amendments to the country’s maintenance and domestic violence laws, he added.
The Small Claims Court Bill will provide for the establishment of Small Claims Courts, for the adjudication of minor civil claims, and for incidental matters.
Currently, Namibia does not have Small Claims Courts, and in many instances, when litigation is sought for minor cases, the involved parties are required to be able to afford a lawyer, as the State cannot provide Legal Aid lawyer for these cases.
Kawana said he aims to table the Small Claims Court Bill, when the National Assembly resumes, which is on 6 June.
“This new legislation will be passed in the National Assembly, when it resumes. If a person owes you, for instance, N$1 000, what is the point of hiring a lawyer to claim N$1 000? Sometimes the victims do not even go to court, because it’s useless and they end up giving up for what is rightfully theirs. This Act will surely simplify disputes involving small amounts of money,” said Kawana.
Small Claims Courts are regarded as special courts, where disputes are resolved quickly and inexpensively.
The concept was introduced in Namibia in a Law Reform and Development Commission report, which was drafted and published in 1997.
It has been over 20 years since then, and the news that Kawana is pushing for the Bill to be enactment implemented will be welcome news for many civilians, who feel sidelined by being left out of the justice system, when it comes to small civil claims.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015