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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online


Title 12 : Court Procedure


(Cite as: 12 V.S.A. § 5540a)
  • § 5540a. Jurisdiction over small claims; assistant judges

    (a)(1) Subject to the limitations in this section and notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, assistant judges of Essex, Caledonia, Rutland, and Bennington Counties sitting alone shall hear and decide small claims actions filed under this chapter with the Essex, Caledonia, Rutland, and Bennington Superior Courts.

    (2) [Repealed.]

    (b) With the exception of assistant judges authorized to preside in small claims matters prior to June 16, 2001 who have successfully completed the testing requirements established herein, an assistant judge hearing cases under this section shall have completed at least 100 hours of relevant training and testing, and observed 20 hours of small claims hearings in accordance with the protocol for said training and observation which shall be established by the Court Administrator in consultation with the Association of Assistant Judges. An assistant judge who hears cases under this section shall annually complete 16 hours of continuing education, established by the Court Administrator in consultation with the Association of Assistant Judges, relating to jurisdiction exercised under this section and shall file a certificate to such effect with the Court Administrator. Law clerk assistance available to Superior judges shall be available to the assistant judges.

    (c) A decision of an assistant judge shall be entered as a small claims judgment and may be appealed pursuant to section 5538 of this title. The appeal shall be decided by the presiding judge.

    (d) An assistant judge upon successful completion of the training under subsection (b) of this section, shall cause the Superior Court clerk to notify the Court Administrator of the assistant judge's successful completion of training. Upon receipt of such notification, small claims cases which require a hearing shall first be set for hearing before an assistant judge in the Superior Court in the county and shall be heard by the assistant judge. If the assistant judge is unavailable due to illness, vacation, administrative leave, disability, or disqualification, the Administrative Judge pursuant to 4 V.S.A. §  22 may assign a judge, or appoint and assign a member of the Vermont bar to serve temporarily as an acting judge, to hear small claims cases in the county. No action filed or pending shall be heard at or transferred to any other location unless agreed to by the parties. If both assistant judges of the county elect to successfully complete training to hear these matters, the senior assistant judge shall make the assignment of cases to be heard by each assistant judge. The assistant judges, once qualified to preside in these matters, shall work with the Court Administrator's office and the Administrative Judge such that the scheduling of small claims cases before the assistant judges are at such times as to permit adequate current court personnel to be available when these cases are heard.

    (e) Subdivision (a)(2) of this section shall be repealed effective on January 31, 2011. (Added 1995, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1996; amended 1997, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 32; 2001, No. 70, § 2, eff. June 16, 2001; 2003, No. 58, § 1, eff. June 5, 2003; 2005, No. 71, § 96a; 2005, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. May 20, 2006; 2007, No. 51, § 11; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 84a; 2015, No. 58, § E.204.12.)