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Hawaiʻi State Judiciary pilot program allows small claims disputes to be resolved online

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Accessing the justice system — how do you make it easier? Well, you may have heard of TurboTax — but how about TurboCourt? It’s an online service that makes filing complaints simpler.

Hawaiʻi joins a handful of states that have rolled out TurboCourt to try and ease the process of seeking judicial relief.

Angela Min, chief innovation officer for the Hawaiʻi State Judiciary, shared how the pilot program makes life a little bit easier for the public — and for court staff.

"We are kind of starting off small. We want to see how it's working, if we need to make any changes, any modifications," Min said. "So right now, it's open to small claims. So small claims generally, if you think about it is any cases under $5,000. Popular topics are someone suing another person for unpaid services, maybe a debt that one person owes another person; maybe a claim for goods."

The program is currently available for those on Oʻahu and in Maui County, but Min said the other islands will likely be included come January 2022.

"During the pilot, it's only open to individuals with one other person currently, so Person A versus Person B. We are looking at our next enhancement to be adding multiple party filing because a lot of times there's multiple people involved in a dispute," she said.

Min said the courthouse staff reported it's been a pretty smooth rollout.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Oct. 26, 2021.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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