The Small Claims Court of the Lagos State Judiciary has delivered 530 judgments out of 850 cases filed by litigants within the last 10 months of its sittings in seven magisterial districts.
The Lagos State Judiciary was a recipient of presidential and World Bank awards on the practice of the ease of doing business owing to the success of the court, which operates as Fast Track Commercial Division of the magistrates’ courts in resolving business matters within a record time.
The Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke, disclosed this yesterday at the inauguration of the translation of the Small Claims Court’s Practice Directions Handbook and Policy Guidelines for the day-to-day Administration of the Lagos State Judiciary.
The chief judge said 340 judgments were delivered within 60 days, 147 within 100 days, 42 within 200 days and one was delivered after 200 days.
Justice Oke said the court has fulfilled its objective of providing easy access to an informal, inexpensive and speedy resolution of simple debt recovery disputes in the magistrates’ courts of claims not exceeding N5million, as provided for under Article 1 of the Practice Direction.
She said the Practice Direction for the court was translated into five major Nigerian languages, namely Yoruba, Igbo, Egun, Hausa and Pidgin English to encourage inclusiveness and greater access to litigants who are not literate in English.
She described the development as the first in the country, saying it is a feat to have an enabling law translated into indigenous languages.
Justice Oke added that the effort would further improve the performance recorded so far in terms of number of cases filed, duration between filing and delivery of judgment, since litigants would more likely understand the process and become more confident to represent themselves.
The Chairman of the committee that translated the practice direction, Justice Yetunde Adesanya, said with the new development, more litigants are expected to bring their commercial cases to the court.
She hoped that with more litigants bringing their commercial cases to Small Claims Court, it would assist to decongest the dockets of high court judges