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General Laws

Section 22. The procedure shall include the beginning of actions with an entry fee of $20 for claims of $500 for less and $30 for claims of greater than $500, plus the surcharge required by section four C of chapter two hundred and sixty-two, but without summons and complaint and without requirement, except by special order of court, of any pleading other than a concise written statement of the claim. The procedure shall include notice by first class mail instead of the mode of service heretofore required, and shall include provisions for early hearing. The procedure may include the modification of any or all rules of pleading and practice, anything contained in other chapters, sections or acts notwithstanding, and may include a stay of the entry of judgment or of the issue of execution and authority in the court, in its discretion, after proper inquiry, to order payment to the prevailing party of the amount found due on or before a day stated or by instalments, to modify, extend or vacate such order and, in its discretion, to enforce such order by contempt proceedings, substantially in the manner provided in chapter two hundred and twenty-four, and to provide therefor in the rules for the procedure. Said rules for the procedure may provide for the elimination of any or all fees and costs, and that costs shall be in the discretion of the court. In causes begun under the procedure, the court may on application for cause shown issue writs of attachment of property.

At the commencement of an action under the procedure the plaintiff shall be informed that such action may be submitted for mediation and resolution at the request of either party and with the agreement of both parties. The clerk-magistrate shall make appropriate note of any agreement so reached, and entry of judgment shall be made by the court. Any action which is not resolved by agreement may, at the request of any party, be heard by a clerk-magistrate under the provisions of sections twenty-one to twenty-five, inclusive; provided, however, that cases heard before a jury of six must be heard by a justice.

The procedure shall include the beginning of actions with an entry fee of $30 for claims of $500 or less, $40 for claims of greater than $500 but less than or equal to $2000, $90 for claims of greater than $2000 but less than or equal to $5000, and $140 for claims greater than $5000, plus the surcharge required by section four C of chapter two hundred and sixty-two, but without summons and complaint and without requirement, except by special order of court, of any pleading other than a concise written statement of the claim.

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