Ever since the first Chief Justice under the new Kenyan constitution took the over the reigns of power in the Judiciary, the Kenyan court system has undergone radical administrative changes to make it more responsive to the citizenry and provide better service. This has seen a great improvement and streamlining of court processes.
The process of filing a civil case begins at a lawyer’s office. See our article on lawyers in Kenya to find a lawyer.
You will explain your case to your lawyer and agree on a course of action. The lawyer will ask you for various particulars which s/he will need in order to file the case.
The High Court Registry Manual, first published in 2013, provides useful insights for anyone interested in filing a civil case.
Civil cases include the following:-
- Contracts and tenancies
- All manner of torts, for example; defamation, nuisance, negligence, trespass, running down/accident cases and so forth.
- Miscellaneous civil applications which include;
- Registration of foreign judgments and arbitration awards.
- Registration of applications for pauperism.
- Application for leave to appeal out of time.
- Application for transfer of cases from magistrates Courts.
- Applications for presumption of death.
- Appeals from subordinate courts and tribunals, for example; Rent Restriction and Business Premises Rent Tribunals, Provincial Appeals Committee, Alcoholic Drinks Control Licensing Committees, Co-operative Tribunals and so forth.
- Disputes related to leadership in societies such as; churches, sports associations, professional bodies and clubs.
The processes for filing a case in the High Court and Magistrates Civil Courts are governed by the Civil Procedure Act Cap 21.
Requirements to File a Civil Case
The requirements may vary slightly for each type of civil case but generally, the requirements are as follows:
- Choice of Track, namely, Small Claim, Fast Track, Multi Track.
- Name of the court in which the claim is filed.
- Sworn verifying affidavit(s).
- Physical, postal, e-mail addresses and mobile telephone contacts of all the parties and or advocates.
- Summons to enter appearance.
- List of witnesses.
- Plaintiff’s statements.
- Written statements by the witnesses except expert witnesses.
- Copies of documents to be relied upon during trial.
- Demand letter.
- Authority/Consent to sue in case of representative suits which are instituted by way of originating summons.
Registration of Civil Cases
The case also needs to be registered in the court registry. The following requirements must be met for registration:
- Plaint/Originating Summons is presented at the registration counter.
- Pleadings and documents are verified.
- Court fees is assessed.
- Payment voucher with serial number is issued.
- Court fees deposit slip is verified.
- Case number is assigned.
- Court fees receipt is issued by the cashier.
- Documents are date stamped.
- Case details are registered in a manual and electronic Civil Case Register.
- Case file is opened.
The Judiciary – High Registry Operation Manual