Barristers & Solicitors
Small Claims Court Handled 850 Cases in One Year, Lagos CJ

The Small Claims’ Courts in Lagos State handled 850 cases in its first year of existence, according to the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba.

Justice Alogba disclosed this on Wednesday, at a two-day training organised for State Magistrates and court officials of the Small Claims Court in Nigeria.

“A total of 850 claims were instituted across the 15 Small Claims courts in Lagos State, between May 2018 and March 2019.

“530 judgements were delivered within the period, in which 340 judgements were delivered within 60 days, 147 within 100 days, 42 judgements within 200 days and one judgement delivered after 200 days

.“In other words, over 60% of the cases filed were concluded, and judgement delivered within the 60-day time frame prescribed by the Practice Directions.”

The training session was tagged “Peer-to-Peer Learning Session on Training for Magistrates and Court Officials of the Small Claims Court”. It was organised by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, (PEBEC) in conjunction with the Lagos State Judiciary, and it is aimed at creating an avenue for States who have not had Small Claims courts, to learn on how to establish and operate it.

Justice Alogba also commended the Small Claims courts for fast-tracking justice delivery in commercial disputes, and further disclosed that more Small Claims courts would be created soon.

“I have been reliably informed of the need for the creation of a Small Claims court, because of the very low dockets in some of the Magisterial districts.”

Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, commended the Chief Judge for making available representatives of the Lagos State Small Claims Court to share learning and experiences with their counterparts from other States.

Oduwole said that PEBEC was established by President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2016, to oversee Nigeria’s business climate reform agenda. According to her, over 160 reforms, which include the Judiciary’s establishment of Small Claims courts in seven States so far, had been implemented by PEBEC over the last six years. She said the rationale behind the courts arose from the need to urgently address the speed of adjudication, particularly financial claims, and to reduce cases from the dockets of the High Courts over a simple commercial dispute.

Small Claims courts in Lagos State were established in April, 2018 with 15 courts spread across seven Magisterial Districts of Lagos Island, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Yaba, Epe, Badgry and Apapa.

“Due to the volume of cases filed in this Division of the Magistrate Courts, the courts were increased to 18 in July 2020 and presently, there are 19 Small Claims courts in Lagos State.