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How-to-Primer for Small Claims Court Judges

NCJ Number
Judges' Journal Volume: 28 Issue: 1 Dated: (Winter 1989) Pages: 37-40
H E Freedman
Date Published
4 pages
The chairperson of the Small Claims Committee of the National Conference of Special Court Judges offers suggestions to help judges and administrators of small claims courts in their work and compares the experiences of judges with the Model Small Claims Court Act developed by the United States Chamber of Commerce as part of the Model Consumer Act.
Many small claims courts now permit actions to be started by mail and consider actions valid if started under a trade name rather than the full legal name of a corporation or merchant. Courts also use checklist forms for common proceedings, provide films or manuals for claimants, have pretrial proceedings, and maintain separate calendars for business and collection claims. Other techniques being used include the use of mediation and arbitration, the liberal interpretation of rules of evidence, the use of expert witnesses, and the use of informal hearing procedures. Additional techniques relate to continuances and adjournments, defaults, remedies and relief, the method of rendering a decision, collections of judgments, and mechanisms for filing satisfactions of judgment. Notes and 9 references.