News Story (Vermont)
Vermont Public Radio
February 13, 2020
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Tags: Debt Collection, Small Claims Court
Organizations mentioned/involved: Vermont Legal Aid (VLA)
The Judiciary’s Civil Division Oversight Committee is tasked with ensuring access to justice, and makes recommendations regarding court rules and state law. After Vance’s resignation, committee chair Helen Toor invited a handful of attorneys to propose changes, including Jean Murray with Vermont Legal Aid.
Murray said Judge Vance’s actions revealed a concerning lack of oversight of small claims decisionmakers. “There need to be judges in small claims,” she said.
Vermont’s small claims courts are overseen by a small number of nonlawyer assistant judges, like Vance, and a lot of part-time volunteer attorneys, known as acting judges. Assistant and acting judges are not subject to judicial retention hearings like other judges.