Small Claims Court

1. Who may institute a claim?

  • Anyone except registered entities such as companies, corporation or associations.
  • A person under the age of 21 must be assisted by his/her parents or legal guardians.

2. Against whom may a claim be instituted?

  • Against anyone, including companies, corporations or municipalities or other entities.

3. What matters are excluded from the jurisdiction of the court?

  • Claims that exceed the limit of K 20,000,000.
  • Claims for damages in respect of defamation, malicious, prosecution, wrongful imprisonment, wrongful arrest, adultery and seduction.
  • Claims concerning the validity of a will
  • Claims concerning the status of a person in respect of his medical capacity.
  • Claims made under customer law.
  • Claims in which specific performance is sought without an alternative claim for payment of damages.
  • Claims against foreign states and consular officers.

4. Are you compelled to institute your case in the small claims court?

  • No, you may choose whether you want to institute the claim in the small claims court or any other competent court or any other court such as the Subordinate court.

5. Legal representation and assistance in the preparation of your claim.

  • Representation by an Advocate is not allowed. You may however, at your own cost obtain prior advice from an Advocate.
  • The clerk of court will assist you free of charge to prepare your claims.

6. Interpreter

  • Any Zambian language may be used in the court. Arrangements with an interpreter must be made with the court clerk before hand if evidence is to be given in any language other than English.

7. How do I commerce an action in a small claims court?

  • An action in the small claims court will be instituted by issuing a letter of demand first. The letter of demand will be addressed to the defendant setting out your claim. This letter of demand will be served you upon the defendant and an expiry date of fourteen (14) days if he/she does not respond favorably; you will then be entitled to issue a notice of claim.The clerk of court will assist you to prepare both the letter of demand and notice of claim and then advise you how best to effect service.

What to take to the clerk of court:

  • Contract, letter, document or other proof upon which your claim is based or that has regard thereto.
  • The defendant's full name and address (home and business address, if available.)What re the duties of the clerk of court?
  • He / She will inform you of the date and time for the hearing of the case.
  • He /she will issue the notice of claim and hand it to you for service.What do you do with the notice of claim?
  • You should serve the notice of claim on the defendant in person. Try to get an acknowledgement of receipt by having the defendant sign and date a copy of the notice of claim.

OR
You can request the clerk of court to instruct the sheriff to effect the service on your behalf at a fee. What do you do then?

  • Where the sheriff has undertaken the service, you must check with the court if the sheriff has filed a certificate of service with the court. After that, obtain a hearing date from the court. Keep the contract, letter, document or other proof upon which your claim is based at hand. Inform your witness of the date and time the case will be heard and arrange for them to be present in court at the appointed date and time.What do you do when you receive a notice of a claim?
  • You should immediately see the clerk of court for assistance in responding to it.