Small Claims Forms and Instructions Now Available
in Seven Languages
The Trial Court's Access to Justice Initiative today announced that small claims forms and instructional materials have been translated into the seven most commonly spoken non-English languages in the Commonwealth: Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, traditional Chinese and Khmer. The translated materials will make it easier for Massachusetts residents with limited English proficiency to understand and file a small claims case in the District Court, the Boston Municipal Court, and the Housing Court, all of which have jurisdiction over small claims. The forms and supplementary information can be obtained at clerks' offices at the respective courts and online at: http://www.mass.gov/courts/forms/translated/small-claims/all.html
Western Division Housing Court First Justice Dina Fein, who serves as the Special Advisor on Access to Justice, said, "Small claims sessions are designed to provide a quick and inexpensive way for people and businesses to protect and defend their property rights and settle other legal matters. Improving the ability of linguistic minorities to resolve disputes in small claims sessions is an important step toward the Trial Court's goal of more open and user-friendly courts. As resources become available, we hope to make other translated materials available on the Trial Court website and in courthouses throughout the Commonwealth."
The translation project was funded by a State Justice Institute Technical Assistance Grant. Based on the success of the small claims translations, the State Justice Institute awarded the Trial Court's Access to Justice Initiative another grant to create a small claims instructional video in English and the same seven languages. The video, which will be completed this year, will be posted on YouTube.