Summary Proceedings in New York’s Town and Village Courts: Ideas for Improvement
Every year, New York’s Town and Village Courts preside over a large number of summary (i.e., eviction) proceedings, each of which can result in significant disruptions to families and the loss of a necessity of life: one’s home. These proceedings, which are governed by strict statutory guidelines, can be complex, and adherence to the applicable guidelines is not always straightforward. The fact that litigants in summary proceedings are often unrepresented by counsel only compounds these difficulties.
This Report makes recommendations designed to address this and other problems. The recommendations include: better and more frequent training for justices; the creation of a reference guide, in the form of a checklist or flowchart, that justices can consult in real time during summary proceedings; increasing the availability of legal services through the use of an adjournment rule; providing increased information on litigants’ rights and legal service providers at clerks’ offices; scheduling days for summary proceedings; and requiring reporting on the number of summary proceedings commenced within a Town or Village Court.
It is our hope that these measures, as well as the others outlined herein, will help mitigate many of the problems currently associated with summary proceedings in the Town and Village Courts.
Read the Report