Year

2000

Degree Name

Master of Laws (Honours)

Department

Faculty of Law

Abstract

The purpose of the research was to identify the clients of the Local Civil Claims Court and to determine what type of cases and monetary amounts were the subject of their claims. The study involved looking at the functions of the court from the viewpoint of the various client groups by following individual cases through the system from filing to judgment and noting the use that different clients groups made of the system. Particular emphasis was placed on the differences in client usage of the registry and adjudicative services provided by the court. Two data sets of 500 cases were collected; one set was a systematic sample of all filed cases and the other set was made up of defended cases. The data revealed that the dominant client group consisted of large, corporate plaintiffs suing small, individual defendants for small amounts of money. The results were used to examine the role of the court and the degree to which the court met the needs of the clients. The Court Set sample indicated that in a significant minority of cases the court performed a dispute resolution/facilitation of compromise role but the Registry Set showed that in the majority of cases filed the court functioned to reinforce normative/dominant values and institutional outcomes indicating a policy implementation function.

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