SMALL CLAIMS COURT IN KENYA

June 18, 2022

It is unfortunate that something so obvious and direct can be a source of headaches and stress for many. The nature of a business is that one offers their goods or service, and the other person pays the agreed price. But as simple as that sounds, many choose to devise their own rules, to the disadvantage of the supplier. If you are an SME owner, you must have been here at least once. Not getting paid on time or at all does not only affect your business but your health as well. The high levels of stress, anxiety, or in extreme cases depression, may end up costing you more than the profits you expect. It is even worse when the survival of your business depends on receiving what you are owed. To add salt to the injury, without good representation, pursuing legal action has been another source of more stress and anxiety. The backlog of cases in courts in Kenya is on a high. Especially without enough money for legal fees needed to have a professional dedicated to your lawsuit. It may be years before you get justice. Years you don’t have. The Small Claims Court is established by the Small Claims Act 2016. It is a subordinate court in the court system structure in Kenya under Article 169 (1) of the Constitution. This was a superb initiative to counter the legal problems SME owners face and the common Mwananchi by extension. The goal is to enhance the ease of doing business in Kenya by reducing the backlog of cases and resolving disputes through simple, inexpensive, and expeditious procedures, thus enhancing access to justice. Jurisdiction of the court Section 12(1) of the Small Claims Court Act provides that the court has jurisdiction to hear civil claims relating to:- a) A contract of sale and supply of goods or services b) A contract relating to money held and received c) Liability in tort d) Compensation for personal injuries e) Set-off and counterclaim under any contract. The Small Claims Court is, however, limited in jurisdiction. Limits which work more to your advantage, that not. One, they can only preside over money matters not exceeding Kenya Shillings One Million (Kshs.1 000,000), excluding interests and costs. These are more likely to consume less time before getting a ruling. Second, as provided by Section 11(2) of the Small Claim Court Act, they have local limits. But thanks to the efforts of the Judiciary Service Commission, in the able hands of Chief justice Martha Koome, we will have one in every county. So far, we have operational courts in counties such as Kajiado, Nyeri, Kiambu, Eldoret, to name but a few. The court is presided by an adjudicator, an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, with at least three years of experience. Reasons to file at the Small Claims Court a) Simplified Court procedures – The court does not follow the civil procedure rules that drag matters longer. b) The filing fees are affordable – New civil or commercial claims range from Kshs. 200 – 1000 depending on the value of the claim. There are […]

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Data Protection Act in Kenya

June 18, 2022

Simply put, Kenya’s Data Protection Act is a data privacy law enacted in 2019 to protect your privacy by ensuring that companies or organizations do not abuse it. What is Data Protection, and what does it entail? It is the process of keeping important data safe from corruption, compromise, or loss. It is also ensuring that it can be restored in case of loss or corruption. The need for laws to secure people’s data privacy is because organizations demand more and more data every passing day, and the risk of undermining your privacy is high. Kenya’s Data Protection Act is one of the many data privacy laws that have emerged in recent years globally. The Act was enacted to monitor institutions and individuals who control or process personal information for people in and outside Kenya. The Data Protection Act Principles Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency – Your data should be obtained fairly, with your knowledge and consent. Purpose limitation – Your data should be collected for a specific purpose communicated to you in advance. Data minimization – Personal data should be limited to only what is necessary. Accuracy – Your data MUST be correct, complete, and up to date. Storage limitation – It should not be kept longer than necessary. Once it has served its purpose, it should be deleted. Integrity and confidentiality – The data controller must ensure that your data will not be altered or corrupted by any authorized/entitled persons. Accountability – Institutions or individuals that process or control data should comply with the set data protection laws. What are the rights of an individual under GDPR? General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which is where the Kenya Data protection Act draws from, grants you these exclusive rights: • The right to be informed on how they gather your data and how long they plan to retain it. • The right to access your data whenever you want. • The right to rectification where data is missing or was updated erroneously. • The right to the erasure of the data permanently when you feel compromised. • The right to restrict the processing of the data by the data controller under specific circumstances. • The right to data portability which means you can collect and reuse your data as you will. • The right to object to the processing of your data. E.g., when a company wants to use it for marketing purposes. • The right not to be subject to automated decision-making. Companies must notify you that you will be subject to algorithmic decision-making where you have a right to decline. Consent Many people do not know this, but the company should share information disclosing race, health status, biometric data, sex, sexual orientation, origin, belief, marital status, and family details without your consent. The company should notify you anytime they intend to share with a third party. The law is clear that you should know whom they share it with, how long, who else will have access, and what purpose. There should also be security measures to guarantee its safety. You also reserve the right to withdraw your consent when […]

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BEST LAW FIRM IN KENYA

June 18, 2022

Contrary to what many people believe, there is no such thing as the best law firm in Nairobi, Kenya, or any other part of the world. Being the best law firm would mean one excels in all fields of practice beyond any other. As you goggled, however, you have most certainly encountered titles like “top 10 law firms in Kenya” or “top law firms in Nairobi,” which seem to indicate ranks. These, in most cases, are not factual, and when they are, it is for particular merits, not the entire practice of law. We, however, understand that with the presence of so many law firms in Kenya, it can be a challenge to find one that is best for your case. This article is for you. You will learn the most important things you need to consider when finding a law firm. (H2) FIVE CRUCIAL THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A LAW FIRM 1. Areas of specialization – Always find a law firm or lawyer with specialty and experience in the case you have. They are best suited to locate the direction of your legal issue and handle it accordingly. 2. Track record – Always seek to know their successes in previous cases, especially those similar to yours. You have a right to ask for their success graph. NB: Find a lawyer who is capable both in the courtroom and behind the desk, as your case may depend on it! 3. Staying power –Given a chance to choose between two law firms in Nairobi offering the same services you need. One with two years of practice, and the other ten years, which would you choose? Naturally, you feel more confident with the one that has existed for longer. This is not to say that you should choose a start-up firm. It’s just a question of where your heart feels at peace. For example, we have been in practice for 69 years. How does it make you feel having your case in our hands? 4. Mode of communication – You and your lawyer should decide how to communicate. This ensures that you don’t miss important developments in your case. You should decide on the mode and the frequency of meetings so they can factor you into their unpredictable schedule. 5. Billing system – The terms of payment MUST be clear. This may differ for different firms or depending on the nature of your case. Determine whether you’ll be charged hourly, per appearance in court, fixed amounts, or on retainer. (H2) GETTING A LAW FIRM THAT SUITS YOUR BUDGET Speaking of billing, let’s talk about budgets! Legal services are more often assumed to be very expensive, yet from an accounting perspective, the profit margins are similar to those of any other business. The billing system of lawyers is governed by the Advocates Remuneration Order, which discourages, with harsh penalties, the possibility of lawyers overcharging or undercharging. Tips to get a lawyer that best suits your budget would be: (a) Referrals – This goes without saying. If you know someone that has encountered a similar legal issue, you will want to contact the […]

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