Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2210-4119
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4127
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This study analyzes judges’ decision announcements at the end of small claims hearings when the judge informs the parties who has won. Background on US small claims courts is provided, and the data and grounded practical theory, the analytic approach, are described. Then, we overview the small claims decision announcement genre, describe key areas of variation among judges, and identify and explicate a recurring problem built into the design of small claims proceedings. Cases that pit what is legally correct against what commonsense fairness dictates can be troublesome for judges and this trouble is marked discursively in judge announcements. The paper concludes by describing the challenge this raises for the development of grounded practical theory.


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