TRADERS in Dar es salaam Merchant Members are asking the government to effect change in the current Judiciary set up to provide for a small claims court as part of the Commercial division.
In their call, through the Dar es salaam Merchant Members, the brokers argue that since the current Commercial court cannot take on claims below 100m/-,it was important to put a small claims court to grow small businesses.
In an interview, a committee member of Dar es Salaam Merchant member, Mr Mohammed Khalfan argued for a dispensation where a small claims court would be put in place in various districts across the country so that creditors can get judgements against debts for such claims quickly without having to engage and pay for lawyers fees.
"These types of small courts work well in South Africa.They have about 400" he said. Currently, any claim below 100m/- can not make it to the Commercial court in the country.
He said such small claims courts would give incentive and confidence to the wholesalers for example, to sell goods to small retailers on credit of 30 days,knowing that the payment can be collected without too much legal hustle and in short period of time .
"These small claims courts will stimulate economic empowerment among low income people." he said. Small-claims courts have limited jurisdiction to hear civil cases between private litigants.
A similar issue came up when the Investment Climate Facility Board toured the Judiciary's Commercial court division in the city where they experienced firsthand how the new system works.
The Judge in Charge Judge Robert Vicent Makaramba said that digitizing proceedings at the Commercial Court division had fast tracked hearing of court cases from years to just an average of 8 months.
Led by the Co-Chairman of the Board Mr Benjamin Mkapa, who is also Tanzania's retired President, the Trustees met with Judiciary officials and private sector representatives to see how the IFC Support is speeding up the delivery of justice.
Between February 2008 and June 2010, ICF supported a project to help modernize and strengthen the Judiciary so that it can deliver justice promptly, efficiently and transparently.
The project provided information and communication technology equipment to the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the three subdivisions of the High Court - Commercial Division, Land Division and Labour Division with the view to use modern technology in court rooms to ensure court cases are dealt with speedily so that businesses can resolve disputes quickly and return to their economic activities.
The Board heard that as a result of ICF's support, the Court of Appeal, the High Court and its three subdivisions of Commercial, Land and Labour were all able to record court sessions using modern audio recording systems and provide a record of court proceedings within 24 hours.
Mr Mkapa said that the fact that cases could be heard at a faster rate and having less appeals to decisions made by the Commercial Court were obviously a plus.
Briefing ICF Board Members , Judge Makaramba said the system records everything, with cases currently going faster, with each taking an average of 8 months as opposed to the analogue era when it would take years.
Fatuma Karume, an advocate and partner at IMMMA Advocates said that prior to installation of the system, judges were literary writing down peoples' submission during proceedings.