All videos start with a basic overview of the specific form and then proceed into information regarding the form’s purpose. The slide show ends with step-by-step instructions on how to fill out the form and highlights the sections that are currently being discussed, making it easy to follow along. Users have to have Adobe Acrobat Reader on their computer if they want to complete the form on the screen but could also manually complete a blank form by hand. Regardless of how the user decides to input the information into the form, the completed form must be mailed to the court, as there are no e-filing options.
The four videos cover how to fill out the following forms: the initial small claims form that must be filed to begin a small claims suit (JD-CV-40), the statement that the proper notice has been given to the defendant (JD-CV-123), the response from the defendant that they will be an active participant in the proceedings (JD-CL-12), and finally the application for the waiver of fees in family matters (JD-FM-75). Hopefully, the Connecticut Supreme Court will continue to add videos to their website to help users fill out other common forms.
These slide shows offered by the Connecticut Supreme Court should be offered by other state courts. They allow self-represented litigants to fill out forms without having to contact court clerks or employees with basic questions that can be answered in a slide show. These videos increase access to the courts without imposing any significant or reoccurring costs or requiring regular upkeep.
Jen Roy, a law student at the University of the District of Columbia, is a Responsive Law intern.