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Access to Justice: the English Experience with Small Claims


J Baldwin  (2000)
4 pages (150KB)

Small claims procedures provide a mechanism by which legal disputes involving small sums of money can be resolved without disproportionate expense. England and Wales introduced small claims procedures in 1973. For the first 20 years of small claims, the official approach was decidedly modest. But in recent years the position of small claims within the English civil justice system has been transformed.

This PREM Note, produced for The World Bank, argues that England’s experience shows the potential of small claims procedures in expanding access to justice. The Note first examines the advantages and problems of small claims procedures. Access to justice in designing civil justice systems is then discussed. The Note concludes that if greater access to justice is the objective, the key is to design a civil justice system that provides costs and procedures that are realistic and proportionate to the issue in dispute.

Source: Baldwin, J., 2000, ‘Access to Justice: the English Experience with Small Claims’, PREM Notes Number 40, May 2000, World Bank, Washington D.C.

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