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Judiciaries in Oyo and Rivers to launch Small Claims Courts

Judiciaries in Oyo and Rivers to launch Small Claims Courts

MSMEs, Oyo and Rivers State Judiciaries, in partnership with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, have established Small Claims Judicial Committees to start the process of establishing Small Claims Courts in their respective States as part of efforts to improve access to justice for micro, small, and medium-sized businesses.

This was said in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday and signed by Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, the PEBEC Secretary and Special Advisor to the President on Ease of Doing Business.

The PEBEC has worked with various State Judiciaries over the years to increase access to justice for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through the formation of Small Claims Courts, in keeping with its purpose to make Nigeria a progressively simpler place to do business.

By making it simpler to handle straightforward debt recovery issues involving modest claims of five million naira (N5m) and lower, this court hopes to simplify the judicial process.

All claims submitted in a Small Claims Court are anticipated to be adjudicated within 60 days, with an additional 30 days for enforcement.

Additionally, the court aggressively supports self-representation and follows stringent deadlines for significant judicial proceedings. Small Claims Courts have already been set up in the states of Lagos, Kano, Edo, Ogun, Ekiti, Jigawa, and Nasarawa.

On November 22, 2022, Justice Munta Ladipo Abimbola, the Chief Judge of Oyo State, officially launched the Small Claims Judicial Committee for the formation of a Small Claims Court in Oyo State. He emphasized the significance of Small Claims Courts in advancing straightforward financial disputes.

The committee, which will be presided over by Justice O.S. Adeyemi, was then given charge by the speaker to diligently carry out its mandate in compliance with the PEBEC standards and produce a report within 14 days of the inauguration.

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A Small Claims Judicial Committee was established earlier this month, on November 4, 2022, by the Chief Judge of the Rivers State Judiciary to oversee the establishment of a Small Claims Court in Rivers State.

While the State appeared to be starting late in establishing a Small Claims Court, the Rivers State Judiciary was “spurred to start well and overtake those that started earlier,” according to Honourable Justice Simeon C. Amadi, who served as the Committee’s chairman during the inauguration. The Honorable Justice C. D. Green will preside over the Committee.

President Muhammadu Buhari formed the PEBEC in July 2016 to eliminate crucial bureaucratic barriers and hindrances to conducting business in Nigeria. The Council is presided over by His Excellency Professor Osinbajo SAN, GCON, the Vice President.

Since 2017, the PEBEC has continued to work with subnational governments, especially the State Judiciary, to put reforms into place that will make it simpler for businesses to operate in all 36 of the Federation’s States, including the Federal Capital Territory.

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