A GLIMPSE TO INDONESIA’S NEW SMALL CLAIMS COURTNo one hopes for a dispute to come. But when it happens, the disputing parties can choose to pursue settlement through a court or through one of the alternative dispute resolution forums. One downside of settlement through a court is being trapped in a long, tiring and vexatious litigation, while arbitration process will require more cost then an ordinary court. Neither of these seem appealing, of course, to the aggrieved party who has only a small or not too substantial amount of claim. Some of them choose to back off from pursuing their claims. However, now there is a shed of hope for that type of claimants to pursue their loss or damage to the court without experiencing a long and winding road of litigation process.

On 7 August 2015, the Supreme Court of Indonesia by its Supreme Court Regulation (PERMA) No. 2 Year 2015 finally introduced Indonesia’s Small Claim (Gugatan Sederhana) Court. The spirit of this Small Claim Court is nothing more to accelerate case settlement processes to be in accordance with the principles of simple, quick, and cost-efficient. A principle which seems to be only a fairy tale when the disputing parties already entered the court of law. Taking example from London’s Small Claim Court, Indonesia’s version of this court is also judged by a single judge.

The basis of the claim in this court can be either breach of contract or tort, with the object of material claim has to be under IDR 200 million. Simple hearing process shall prevail, which must be decided maximum in 25 days. The judge has the right to decide whether a case falls under simple hearing process or not, if it is not then the case shall be dismissed (dismissal process).

Toward the decision rendered, the dissatisfied party can file for an objection to the court no later than 7 days after the decision. Such process shall be judged by a senior judge and must be decided also in 25 days. This decision shall be final and binding, and there is no possibility for appeal to the higher court or even for judicial review (Peninjauan Kembali).

However this court also has its own limitations. One of the limitations that the writer noticed to be potentially ineffective to the business communities in Indonesia is the legal domicile issue of the parties: the parties have to be under one court jurisdiction. With the rapid growing of telecommunication technology nowadays, distance limit is not an issue anymore in doing business. So if the disputing parties are under different court jurisdictions, they cannot pursue settlement through this system. They have to undergo a lengthy process in common court (District Court). In addition, it is required that each of the claimant and the defendant cannot be more than 1 unless they have the same legal interest.

Moreover, not included within the competence of this Small Claim Court is cases that have to be settled through specific court (e.g. Commercial Court, Industrial Relation Court, etc.) and cases regarding land’s title or right, they cannot be heard before this court.

Nevertheless, we have to wait and see, or even experience how effective this new type of court is going to be. And we are looking forward to it!

Adhiguna A. Herwindha