CJ orders Small Claims Tribunal

By Anish Chand

The Chief Justice has directed that a case filed in the Small Claims Tribunal must be disposed of- or attended to- within 45 days.

And Anthony Gates has stated that there are to be no first calls of cases in the Small Claims Tribunal.

In a practice direction, the CJ says proceedings should commence from the first day of call and all parties should come prepared with their evidence, documents and witnesses.

Gates says if anybody is not happy with the decision of the Tribunal, they can lodge an appeal.

“Any appeals to the High Court or Magistrate Court on the permissible grounds are also be disposed of within 45 days of filing appeal or enforcement papers,” states the CJ.

Appeals can only be lodged for “unfairness prejudicially affecting the result or exceeding jurisdiction”.

The Small Claims Tribunal was set up to provide “prompt and inexpensive relief to Claimants” and deals with cases such as debt recovery, service charges, damage to property, consumer claims and work orders.

Fiji’s Magistrates Courts are responsible for enforcing the rulings of the Small Claims Tribunal by handling all paperwork and ensuing that monies are paid by parties as decided by the Tribunal.