Attorney Shireen Soobrathi. Picture: Supplied
Attorney Shireen Soobrathi. Picture: Supplied

Durban mom appointed first female chairperson of the Chatsworth Small Claims Court

By Chanelle Lutchman Time of article published Jun 17, 2021

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Durban: Shireen Soobrathi has broken barriers. The 46-year-old attorney, who is based in Chatsworth, was named the first female chairperson of the Chatsworth Small Claims Court.

The court deals with minor matters and matters involving claims less than R20 000.

Soobrathi, of Queensburgh, said: "The Chatsworth Small Claims Court is in existence for over 15 years and I have been part of the court for eight years. It offers a quick alternative for people looking to get smaller matters dealt with faster.

"A group of us sit on the board and we deal with the matters so that the regional and district court rolls are not full with small matters. Siven Samuels was the chairperson of the Small Claims Court, but he died last December. When the board sat recently, I was voted in as the chair. It's big shoes to fill but I am up for the task."

The mother-of-two, who has a purple belt in karate, said she was proud of her appointment.

"The law field was always male-dominated. Growing up, my parents were poor but they worked day and night to make sure they provided for my siblings and me. I used to watch LA Law on television and I wanted to get into the field but back then it was difficult for females as it was a male-dominated field. However, my parents still pushed to get me in.

"When I finally qualified and opened my practice in Chatsworth, it was difficult. It took about three years to make my name because a lot of the attorneys in the area were male and they were territorial. Also, I needed clients to build their faith and trust in me and, eventually, I built it and now I am a popular name."

"My appointment shows that women can do what men can do. It also shows that the doors are opening for women to make their mark. I hope others are inspired by my appointment and they make inroads in the field."

Soobrathi has worked on cases dealing with elderly abuse, murders, fraud and drugs. The contact number for the clerk of the Small Claims Court in Chatsworth is 031 403 3227.

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