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This is the first full-length account of the County Court, a court which in contemporary English life has become the main forum for most civil disputes. The importance of the 'Poor Man's Court' in pursuing working-class debtors has long been recognised, but as this book shows, it has expanded far beyond its origins as an agency 'for the more easy recovery of small debts' and now includes in its jurisdiction a diverse range of matters including housing, accidents and consumer goods. Drawing on a wide range of sources, the author traces the history of the County Court from its creation in 1846 all the way through to the reconstruction of the courts in 1971. He describes their organisation and officers, from judges to bailiffs, and discusses the roles of lawyers and lay persons. Given the current controversy over access to justice, this is a timely new history.