SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A new report, which details the “flood” of debt collection cases in Utah and across the country, reveals “systemic problems” in the court system.

That’s according to Christine Durham, Utah’s former Supreme Court Chief Justice.

“This data suggests there’s an inequity in the way the system is designed. And that there are some systemic problems that the debtor cannot control,” said Durham.

As a judge, Durham says, it’s her belief that it’s better for all parties to be involved. But the system, she says is actually providing incentive for debtors not to show up at all.

“We can do better on behalf of all the parties involved,” said Durham.

In District Court, “It might actually be cheaper not to show up at all,” she added.

Simply by responding as a debtor, fees can be increased.

More broadly, the report outlines a flood of civil cases — roughly a quarter of cases — involving debt collection.

“Even before the pandemic, debt collection lawsuits were flooding our state courts. They’re now the most common type of civil case in many states across the country,” said Erika Rickard with Pew Charitable Trusts.