What is a Summary Court?

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Summary courts in Japan are the equivalent of small claims courts in America.  In general, these courts will only hear cases with a monetary value of 600,000 yen or less.  Cases brought in this court are intended to be smaller and less complex, which is reflected in the relatively low limit on the size of the claims and the simplified trial procedure. 

Summary court trials are usually completed in one day and only evidence that can be produced immediately is admissible.  At the end of the oral argument the judge will pronounce a judgment.  This judgment is not appeal-able in civil cases.

Summary courts provide a valuable option for people who want to pursue legal claims that don’t justify the expense of hiring an attorney and filing litigation.  Small claims, such as for minor damage to a bicycle or car, can be solved relatively quickly and economically in summary court and provide the parties with a way to officially settle their dispute and move on with their lives.

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