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NCJ Number: 66071 Find in a Library
Title: SMALL CLAIMS PRACTICE IN THE UNITED STATES
Journal: ST. JOHN'S LAW REVIEW  Volume:52  Issue:1  Dated:(FALL 1977)  Pages:42-66
Author(s): J Y KING
Corporate Author: St John's Law Review
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 25
Sponsoring Agency: St John's Law Review
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE HISTORY AND CURRENT PRACTICES OF ADJUDICATING SMALL CLAIMS IN THE U.S. ARE SURVEYED, WITH SPECIAL ATTENTION PAID TO THE NEW YORK MODEL AND TO SMALL CLAIMS PRACTICES IN MICHIGAN AND CALIFORNIA.
Abstract: SMALL CLAIMS IN THE U.S. USUALLY ARE ADJUDICATED IN SPECIAL PARTS OR DIVISIONS OF AN INFERIOR COURT OF GENERAL JURISDICTION. IN MOST STATES, THE ONLY CLAIMS CONSIDERED ARE THOSE IN WHICH MONETARY RELIEF IS SOUGHT, BUT A FEW STATES PERMIT CLAIMS DEMANDING EQUITABLE RELIEF AS WELL. SMALL CLAIMS PRACTICE, WHEN IT IS OPERATING ACCORDING TO ITS BASIC GOALS OF SERVING JUSTICE WITH A MINIMUM OF LEGAL TECHNICALITY, DELAY, AND EXPENSE, BENEFITS THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM AS WELL AS THE INDIVIDUAL LITIGANTS. WHEN THE PROCEDURE FAILS TO FUNCTION OPTIMALLY, THE DEFICIENCIES USUALLY MAY BE TRACED TO SUCH FACTORS AS OVERUTILIZATION BY CORPORATE PLAINTIFFS, INEQUALITY OF REPRESENTATION, INABILITY OF THE INEXPERIENCED PLAINTIFF TO INITIATE THE CLAIM IN THE APPROPRIATE FORM, INCONVENIENT OR INFREQUENT COURT SESSIONS, AND THE DIFFICULTIES SURROUNDING COLLECTION OF JUDGMENTS. MAXIMAL UTILITY OF SMALL CLAIMS COURTS BE ACHIEVED ONLY IF THE PUBLIC HAS KNOWLEDGE OF THE COURTS' FUNCTIONS AND IF SESSIONS ARE CONDUCTED AT TIMES AND PLACES CONVENIENT TO THE CONSUMER. BOTH NEW YORK AND CALIFORNIA PUBLISH INFORMATION CONCERNING THE FUNCTIONS AND AVAILABILITY OF SMALL CLAIMS PROCEDURES. NEW YORK CITY OPERATES SIX BRANCHES OF THE SMALL CLAIMS DIVISION IN EVENING SESSIONS FOR PUBLIC CONVENIENCE. UNFORTUNATELY, WHILE CLAIMANTS MAY FIND THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT EASILY ACCESSIBLE, INFORMAL, FAIR, AND PROMPT, THE JUDGMENTS THEY OBTAIN PRODUCE NO MONETARY SATISFACTION IN ABOUT ONE-HALF OF THE CASES. THE SYSTEM MOST CONTINUE TO ADJUST TO THE NEED FOR EXPEDITIOUS AND COMPARATIVELY INFORMAL RESOLUTION OF MINOR CLAIMS. CASE NOTES ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): California; Consumer protection; Consumers; Michigan; New York; Public information; Small claims courts; United States of America
Note: THIS ARTICLE INITIALLY WAS PREPARED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1977
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66071

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