University of the District of Columbia Law Review


Every American should enjoy full access to the protections offered by the U.S. civil justice system. Unfortunately, this basic right is often denied to millions by civil court procedures and practices that are costly, Byzantine and hostile to ordinary citizens who need legal help. In fact, according to the American Bar Association, tens of millions of American households that need legal help are denied access to the civil justice system every year.' One key method of improving citizen access to the civil justice system is through small claims courts. These courts - which use simplified procedures, require plain English, provide consumer aids and often prohibit lawyers - have tremendous promise as a means of empowering ordinary people to take charge of their own routine legal needs.

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