Small Claims in the County Courts in England and Wales: The Bargain Basement of Civil Justice?

Synopsis

The way that small claims are dealt with has prompted enormous interest in many jurisdictions, yet the subject has been neglected by researchers in this country. We should not doubt the importance of these procedures, however. It is increasingly seen as a convenient expedient in tackling the crisis in civil justice, and with a massive increase in the small claims limit from ¿1,000 to ¿3,000 in January 1996, small claims have suddenly become big judicial business. This book (based on research conducted over a two-year period and funded by the Lord Chancellor's Department, the Office of Fair Trading and the Economic and Social Research Council) presents the most extensive empirical research analysis of small claims procedures ever undertaken in this country. The theoretical and practical implications of moves to expand the scope of 'Do-it-yourself' justice are explored. The author had privileged access to the district court judges who conduct claim hearings, and the book is the first to include lengthy extracts from tape recorded interviews with them. It also includes discussion of interviews with litigants, including many who struggled to gain payment of court judgments.