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In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness of the inadequacies of the judicial system in the United States. Costs are staggering both for the taxpayers and the litigants - and the litigants, of parties, have to wait sometimes many yeas before having their day 5 in court. Many suggestions have been made concerning methods of ameliorating the situation, but as in most branches of government, changes come slowly.
One suggestion that has been made in order to maximize the efficiency 10 of the system is to allow districts that have an overabundance of pending cases to borrow judges from other districts that do not have such a backlog. Another suggestion is to use pretrial conferences, in which the judge meets in his chambers with the litigants and their attorneys in order to narrow the issues, limit the witnesses, and 15 provide for a more orderly trial, The theory behind pretrial conferences is that judges will spend less time on each case and parties will more readily settle before trial then they realize the adequacy of their claims and their opponents' evidence. Unfortunately, at least one study has shown that pretrial conferences actually use more judicial 20 time than they save, rarely result in pretrial settlements, and actually result in higher damage settlements.
Many states have now established another method, small-claims courts, in which cases over small sums of money can be disposed of with considerable 25 dispatch. Such proceedings cost the litigants almost nothing, In California, for example, the parties must appear before the judge without the assistance of counsel, The proceedings are quite informal and there is no pleading - the litigants need to make only a one-sentence statement of their claim. By going to this type of court, the plaintiff 30 waives any right to a jury trial and the right to appeal the decision. In coming years, we can expect to see more and more innovations in the continuing effort to remedy a situation which must be remedied if the citizens who have valid claims are going to be able to have 35 their day in court.
1. The pretrial conference, in theory, is supposed to do all of the following except.
(A) narrow the issues
(B) cause early settlements
(C) save judicial time
(D) increase settlement costs
2. What is the main topic of the passage?
(A) All states should follow California's example in using small-claims courts in order to free judges for other work.
(B) The legislature needs to formulate fewer laws so that the judiciary can catch up on its older cases.
(C) Nobody seems to care enough to attempt to find methods for making the judicial system more efficient.
(D) While there are many problems with the court system. there are viable suggestions for improvement.
3. The word "litigants" in line 28 means most nearly
(A) jury members
(C) parties in a lawsuit
4. Which of the following is true about small-claims courts?
(A) It is possible to have one's case heard by a jury if he of she is dissatisfied with the court's decision.
(B) The litigants must plead accurately and accurately and according to a strict form.
(C) The decision may not be appealed to a higher court.
(D) The parties may not present their cases without an attorney's help.
5. What can we assume from the passage?
(A) Most people who feel they have been wronged have a ready remedy in courts of law.
(B) Many people would like to bring a case to court, but are unable to because of the cost and time required.
(C) The judicial system in the United States is highly acclaimed for its efficiency.
(D) Pretrial conferences will someday probably have replaced trials completely.
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