Monday, November 23, 2015

California Small Claims Court Rules

Small claims court are not expensive.

A small claims court is a court in which a person sues and the hearing is concluded quickly without a lot of money being used in the process. The procedures are less formal than in ordinary courts. Small claims courts are meant to offer justice to more people without placing a barrier due to financial constraints. They are found in many states, including California, which has various rules attached to the operations of these courts.

Who Can Sue

Anyone who has attained the age of 18 and is of mentally competent can file a suit in the small claims court in California. An emancipated child also qualifies to sue. An emancipated child is a child whose parents don't have custody or control of him or her anymore. In the case of a minor child or mentally incompetent person, a judge appoints an adult called guardian ad litem to represent them during the court proceedings.

Limits of Amounts Claimed

Any individual who files a suit in a small claims court in California can only claim a maximum of $7,500. Corporate entities and government institutions are limited to a claim of $5,000. One is allowed to make as many claims as he wants in a small court. However, one can only make two claims in a year that are worth more than $2,500. Any other claims within that year should be below this figure.

When to File a Suit

You must pay a filing fee whose amount depends on the number of claims you have made in the past one year. For a claim of up to $1,500 you will pay $30. From $1,500 to $5,000 you pay $30, and from $5,000 to $7,500 you pay $75. You will be required to pay a filing fee of $100 if you have claimed more than twelve times in a year regardless of the total amount claimed.

Case Hearing

A person who files a suit in a small claims court in California is not allowed to be represented by a lawyer. He can only seek the advice of the lawyer and use the knowledge acquired to argue out his case in court. The hearing date for a case is usually between 20 days and 70 days after filing the suit. The proceedings are presided over either by a judge or a commissioner. Commissioners are also called temporary judges. They are lawyers who listen to cases in small claim courts and give judgment.


You are not allowed to appeal the results of a case in California's small claims court if you are the one who filed the suit. The person whom the suit is filed against can however appeal the judgment entered against him. Any appeal must be filed within 30 days after the judgment of the case.

Tags: claims court, claims court California, court California, small claims court, suit small