Small Claims Courts


Small Claims Courts deal with civil matters where the claim is less than R15 000. They exist to make the court process quicker and cheaper.

There is a fee involved to use the Court and there are no lawyers involved, so there are no lawyers' fees. If you want to, you can get legal advice before going to court. Legal assistants and clerks of the Small Claims Courts will assist you free of charge.

Individuals can institute claims in the court, but companies can't.

Any of the official languages can be used in the court.

The case is not heard by a judge or magistrate, but rather by a commissioner, who hears each side of the story and asks questions.

The Small Claims Court does not hear divorce cases.

There is no appeal against the decision of the Small Claims Court. However, if you think that the commissioner was biased or unfair, you can ask to have the case reviewed.


To institute a claim in the Small Claims Court, you need to:

  • Give the other person a written demand giving them 14 days to comply.
  • After 14 days, institute a claim with the clerk of the Court.
  • Serve a summons on the other person.
  • Go to court on the set date with all relevant documents and any witnesses you have.

The hearing is an informal and simple one, and there is no cross examination. The commissioner will ask all of the questions and, when they have heard from all parties, will make a decision.

If you need more details, the Department of Justice has a brochure on small claims, as well as steps to follow in the Small Claims Court.

Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (The Government of South Africa)
The content on this page was last updated on 12 March 2015