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Civil Court Committee

The Civil Court Committee addresses issues pertaining to the New York City Civil Court. The Civil Court has jurisdiction in cases involving claims of up to $25,000. The Civil Court Committee focuses on all of the types of cases brought in Civil Court, except for landlord/tenant cases, which are addressed by the City Bar’s Housing Court Committee. Civil Court filings include the burgeoning number of consumer debt collection cases (over 210,000 in 2010), small claims cases (approximately 50,000 per year), and no-fault insurance cases.

Recent topics addressed by the Civil Court Committee include regulation of the process server industry and of debt buyers. The Committee develops memoranda on state and federal legislative proposals, in particular as they pertain to consumer debt collection. Committee members also help administer the Bronx CLARO Program, in collaboration with the Bronx County Bar Association, Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center for Social Justice, and Legal Services NYC Bronx. Bronx CLARO provides limited legal advice to unrepresented New Yorkers regarding consumer debt collection issues.

Recent Reports

Transition letter to Chief Judge Janet DiFiore offering recommendations to improve the state courts and the judicial system during her term (April 2016) ( PDF format )
Subject area: NYS Judiciary

Recommendations to better implement NYS Civil Court Advisory Notice 17 and Chief Clerk's Memo 203 relating to accessing case files in connection with vacating default judgments in consumer debt cases (March 2016) ( PDF format )
Subject area: Consumer Credit Cases

Comments on Proposed Rule for Redaction of Confidential Personal Information in Papers Filed in New York City Civil Court and Other Lower Courts Throughout the State (July 2015) ( PDF format )
Subject area: Confidential Personal Information

For the full list of committee reports click here

Of Interest

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Policy Recommendations for New York City's Next Mayor

The Legal Aid Society, MFY Legal Services, NEDAP, Urban Justice Center, Debt Deception: How Debt Buyers Abuse the Legal System to Prey on Lower-Income New Yorkers (May 2010)

District Council 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services, Where’s the Proof? When Debt Buyers are Asked to Substantiate Their Claims in Collection Lawsuits Against NYC Employees and Retirees, They Don’t (December 2009)

MFY Legal Services, Inc., Justice Disserved: A Preliminary Analysis of the Exceptionally Low Appearance Rate by Defendants in Lawsuits Filed in the Civil Court of the City of New York

Legislative Activity

For more information on the legislative and policy work of the committee, including relevant reports, bill texts and additional advocacy materials, click here.

Related Events

11/18: Training for Volunteers to Provide Basic Consumer Debt Collection Legal Advice