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Civil Claims

In civil claims it is not the state that prosecutes. In a civil claim, you bring a case against a person or a company or other organisation. You can claim for money that is owed to you or you can claim compensation for mental and physical harm that was done to you. This compensation is called DAMAGES. In a civil claim the state can also be like a ‘private person’ if it is suing somebody else or if it is being sued for a wrongful act. (See: Civil law)

Examples of problems where you can start civil claims include assault, eviction, divorce, defamation, injury because of negligent driving, breaking a contract and if someone owes you money. Civil claims can be brought in various civil courts including, the High Courts, District Magistrates’ courts, Regional Magistrates’

Courts, Small Claims Courts, Family Courts, Equality Courts and Chiefs and Headmen Courts. Each court has its own area of jurisdiction which is defined by law. This means the law says what kinds of cases the courts can hear and what kinds of sentencing can take place in each court.

The two sides in a civil claim are called the ‘parties’. The person who complains is called the plaintiff. The person being sued is called the defendant. Civil cases heard in the Magistrate’s Court or High Court will require an attorney to draw up papers for either of the parties. However, in the Small Claims Court you will not be allowed to use an attorney.

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