The Small Claims Court provides fast and easy relief to get the money owed to you without going through a long and litigious process. Small Claims Courts are located throughout the country in local Magistrate Courts, giving people more access to them.

Matters Heard In Small Claims Court. 

For a matter to be at the Small Claims Court, it would need to be a quantifying claim of up to R20 000 or less. Even If your claim is over R20 000, you can abandon the exceeding amount to qualify for the use of the Small Claims Court. However, if your claim is this high and there is sufficient evidence to support the claim, it would be best to proceed via the magistrate court.

It should also be noted that no attorney or advocate may represent a person in the Small Claims Court.

Matters That Don’t Qualify For The Small Claims Court

A claim that is above R20 000; any claim against the state or local municipality; claims based on damages, defamation, wrongful arrest, wrongful imprisonment, malicious prosecution or mental capacity and claims based on a transfer of rights or based on cession are not admissible in the small claims court. 

Letter Of Demand

Your first step would be to approach the Clerk of the court, who will assist you in filling out a Letter of Demand. You could draft a Letter of Demand on your own, however it would be advisable to seek legal assistance to do so in order to ensure that your claim is properly set out. This would ordinarily require that costs be incurred and would therefore be best to utilise the assistance of the court when litigating out of the small claims court.

Your Letter of Demand must have sufficient detail to let the other party know what basis you claim relief.

It should contain the following important information:

  • All the parties’ information.
  • The date of the event or when the debt occurred.
  • Full details of the debt or event (This can include an agreement or contract).
  • Nature of the agreement or how the contract was not adhered to.
  • Previous attempts to solve the matter. (Verbal calls or emails)
  • The consequences if payment is not made.
  • Your Signature.

The Letter of Demand must be delivered by hand or by registered post. You will need to provide proof of such delivery; the proof could be a registered post slip or a delivery affidavit. We recommend using registered post.


Suppose the other party failed to pay 14 days after delivery of the Letter of Demand. In that case, you may now approach the Clerk who will assist you in filling out a Summons.

You will need to provide the Clerk with your Letter of Demand, the proof of delivery, any copies or relevant documents about the claim and the Defendant’s full details (Name, Address and Contact Details), after which the Clerk will advise on the next step.

A copy of the Summons will need to be delivered (served) on the Defendant in person or by a Sheriff.

The proof of delivery will need to be filed with the Clerk of the court with the Summons before the hearing date.


Both parties (Plaintiff and Defendant) must appear on the hearing date with all their evidence and witnesses.

The Commissioner will hear both sides and make an informed decision of such. The Commissioner may dismiss the matter or grant a judgment if the Defendant fails to appear.

Warrant of Execution

After a judgment has been given, the judgment must be complied with in 10 days, or an alternative agreed-upon arrangement must be made.

Failure to comply with the judgment will allow you to apply for a Warrant of Execution from the Magistrate’s court; the warrant will be sent to the Sheriff, who will execute it.


There are many factors to consider when approaching a Small Claims Court. The most significant advantage is that it is a quick and easy relief with legal consequences for a party that doesn’t adhere to it.

Contact an attorney at SchoemanLaw Inc for your guidance and legal needs.