What are Summary Courts?

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Not every legal dispute requires a full trial and many smaller claims can be handled in a simpler, streamlined legal process. In America these cases are resolved in small claims court and are familiar to anyone who has watched Judge Judy or a similar show on TV. In Japan, these smaller disputes are heard in Summary courts.

Summary courts are the lowest level court in Japan. They are also the most common, with 438 courts located throughout the country. Summary courts have jurisdiction to hear civil cases involving disputes up to 1,400,000 yen and criminal cases that are punishable with shorter sentences of imprisonment or fines. If a more severe punishment is deemed necessary, the summary court may transfer the case to a higher level district court.

If you have questions about the judicial system in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.