Lack of access to justice affects not only the poor, but also working-class and middle-income individuals unable to afford attorney rates. This Article presents a roadmap to both access and justice by reimagining the workings of United States’ small claims. Given that small claims cases constitute a significant number of all civil cases, expanding the jurisdiction of these courts in a way that speaks to individual access is a workable and pragmatic approach. In an effort to broaden jurisdiction while also carving restrictions to curb abuse, the Author offers that small claims courts may assist with bridging the justice gap by implementing the following changes: (1) simultaneously raising court limits for claims filed by natural persons and lowering limits for filings by non-natural persons; (2) limiting the number of claims that may be filed by a plaintiff within a twelve-month period of time; (3) providing a small claims advisory service to assist the self-represented; and (4) establishing a framework to assist the self-represented with collection of judgments.
Victoria J. Haneman, BRIDGING THE JUSTICE GAP WITH A (PURPOSEFUL) RESTRUCTURING OF SMALL CLAIMS COURTS, 39 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 457 (2017), https://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/lawreview/vol39/iss4/2