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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77926 Find in a Library
Title: Examining the Claims of a Small Claims Court - A Florida Case Study
Journal: Judicature  Volume:65  Issue:1  Dated:(June-July 1981)  Pages:25-37
Author(s): E Purdum
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 13
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study of a small claims court in Tallahassee, Fla, argues that small claims courts favor corporations, and that the people the courts were designed to serve are exploited.
Abstract: A total of 291 randomly selected court records filed in the Leon County small claims court in 1979 were analyzed to provide a framework for information obtained through observation and interviews. The findings showed that a large number of cases were brought by businesses against individuals and there was a high rate of default. However, unrepresented plaintiffs did almost as well as represented plaintiffs in terms of receiving a judgment and individual plaintiffs fared almost as well as business plaintiffs, although individuals accounted for only 15 percent of all plaintiffs. If the court could give more help to unrepresented litigants (e.g., by providing handbooks of procedures) it could diminish legal and psychological problems encountered by plaintiffs who appear without an attorney. This would also move the court closer to the ideal of a 'friendly forum' that its founders once envisioned. The history of small claims court and the costs of small claims court are discussed. Statistical data and footnotes with references are included.
Index Term(s): Florida; Small claims courts
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