Access to justice and small claims courts: Supporting Latin American civil reforms through empirical research in los angeles county, California

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to provide an analysis on the use of Small Claims Courts as a mechanism to improve access to justice in order to support the ongoing reform movement in Latin-American countries in civil matters. In this region, this essential information is intended to be used by policymakers to help judiciaries to confront several barriers that currently face common citizens: lack of information, high economic cost of the judicial process and obtaining legal representation, corruption, extreme formalism, delays, and even the geographical location of the courts. The experience on the implementation of the Small Claims Courts in the United States, with the modifi cations made during the 60' and the 70's as a result of the consumers' movement, may contribute to the discussion in countries where is too much to be done in providing access to justice to groups of populations traditionally excluded, at least in many civil matters. With this purpose, the author have made an empirical research at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse of the Los Angeles Superior Court fi nding that even when some reforms could improve the system, with the proper incentives and with restrictions for corporate plaintiffs to avoid systemic abuse, this mechanism can become the people's court.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-986
Number of pages32
JournalRevista Chilena de Derecho
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Access to justice
  • Empirical research
  • Small claims courts

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