Please contact your nearest Provincial Office if you have any enquiries or complaints.
For more information regarding the Small Claims Courts, please approach the Small Claims Court Clerks at your nearest Magistrate’s Office.
THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT ALLOWS YOU TO INSTITUTE MINOR CIVIL CLAIMS IN A SPEEDY, AFFORDABLE AND SIMPLE MANNER WITHOUT USING AN ATTORNEY.
WHO MAY INSTITUTE A CLAIM?
Anyone except juristic persons such as Companies,
Close Corporations and Associations.
A person under 18 must be assisted by a parent or
AGAINST WHOM MAY A CLAIM BE INSTITUTED?
With the exception of the State, against anyone, including
Companies, Close Corporations and Associations.
NB: Please note that claims cannot be instituted
against Municipalities/Local Government in a Small
WHAT AMOUNT CAN BE CLAIMED?
An amount not exceeding R 20 000. (This amount is
determined by the Minister from time to time in the
Government Gazette, GG 42282, GoN 296, 05 Mar 2019, which comes into effect on 01 Apr 2019).
If your claim exceeds R 20 000 in value, you can
institute a claim for a lesser amount to pursue your
case in the Small Claims Court.
LIST OF CAUSES OF ACTION AND EXAMPLES
Action for repayment of monies lent
This is where the plaintiff has borrowed money to the
defendant and the defendant has failed to pay over the
money either during the stipulated time as per their
agreement or upon demand by the plaintiff. The money
owed should not exceed R 20 000.
Action for the delivery of movable or immovable
Where the defendant’s indebtedness to the plaintiff
arises from property that the defendant had bought
from the plaintiff and fails to pay for, it the plaintiff can
sue the defendant in the Small Claims Court. Examples of
the property sold and delivered would include furniture
or a piece of land not exceeding R 20 000 in value.
Action against an occupier of a property
These are usually actions where the defendant’s rental
of the plaintiff’s property is in arrears and the rental
arrear amount does not exceed R 20 000.
Actions arising from liquid documents
These are actions wherein the plaintiff’s claim is based
on a document like an acknowledgement of debt, a
mortgage bond, a promissory note or a cheque as the
case maybe where the amount does not exceed R 20 000.
Actions arising from Credit Agreements as
prescribed in terms of section 1 of the Credit
Agreement Act, 1980 (Act 75 of 1980)
These are actions wherein the plaintiff is a sole proprietor
who sometimes provides credit facilities to his/her
customers. Where the defendant has failed to pay his/
her installments in terms of the credit agreement and
the arrear payment does not exceed R 20 000 the
sole proprietor may approach the Small Claims Court for
Actions for damages
The plaintiff may also sue the defendant for damages
arising, for example from a motor vehicle accident
wherein the damage to the plaintiff’s motor vehicle
does not exceed R 20 000 when assessed.
ARE YOU COMPELLED TO INSTITUTE YOUR CASE IN THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT?
No, you may choose whether you want to institute it in
the Small Claims Court or any other competent court.
LEGAL REPRESENTATION AND ASSISTANCE IN THE PREPARATION OF YOUR CLAIM
Representation by an attorney or advocate is not
allowed. You may, however, obtain prior advice
from an attorney at your own cost.
Legal assistants and clerks of the Small Claims
Courts will assist you free of charge.
Any of the official languages of South Africa may be
used in the court.
Arrangements for an interpreter must be made with
the clerk of the court beforehand if evidence is to be
given in a language with which one of the parties is
not sufficiently conversant.
WHAT MATTERS ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE
JURISDICTION OF THE COURT?
Claims exceeding R 20 000 in value.
Claims against the State (including the Municipality/
Claims based on the cession or the transfer of rights.
Claims for damages in respect of defamation,
malicious prosecution, wrongful imprisonment,
wrongful arrest, seduction and breach of promise
Claims for the dissolution of a marriage.
Claims concerning the validity of a will.
Claims concerning the status of a person in respect
of their mental capacity.
Claims in which specific performance is sought
without an alternative claim for payment of
damages, except in the case of a claim for rendering
an account or transferring movable or immovable
property not exceeding R 20 000 in value.