How to file a civil case in Kenya

by Wakili Liam
David Kenani Maraga, Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya

What is a civil case?

A civil case involves a legal dispute between two or more parties.

When filing a civil case, one needs to first understand the following, as shared by the Kenyan Judiciary:

First, understand your cause of action, that is, which part of the law you are relying on to sue the other person (defendant/respondent)

Secondly, consult an advocate; that is a person who is a lawyer and who has in addition to that, been admitted to the roll of advocates and is licensed to practice for the current year.

Thirdly, reduce your complaint into writing and draft it the form of a plaint or originating summons or a petition, and

Lastly, present it together with a signed supporting affidavit to the court registry nearest to you.

How does one become a surety/guarantor?

  1. You must either be related to the accused person or you must know them very well.
  2. Prepare your identification documents for presentation to court (Originals and copies)
  3. Prepare your security documents (Payslip for the employed or title deed accompanied by current Certificate of Official Search and respective receipt from the lands registry and valuation report from a licensed Valuer)

How do you defend yourself?

  • Ask for information
  • Seek clarification
  • Ask questions
  • Do not say anything that might be used against you
  • Present evidence

How can I peruse a court file?

  1. Make a request in the registry
  2. Pay the required fees

How does one obtain proceedings?

  • Make a written request in open court or through writing in the court registry
  • The court will make an order and the proceedings will be prepared and assessed for fees
  • Pay the required fees

How can I certify an affidavit or documents?

  • Visit the registry and have your affidavit/documents assessed for fees

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