Small claims court is a special court where disputes are resolved quickly and inexpensively. In small claims court, the rules are simplified and the hearing is informal. The person who files the claim is called the plaintiff. The person who the claim is filed against is called the defendant. While you may ask an attorney for advice before you go to small claims court, an attorney cannot represent you in court.
The plaintiff has the right to appeal an unfavorable defendant’s claim but has no right to appeal the small claims judgment. The defendant has a right to appeal. If the defendant files an appeal, each party may be represented by an attorney at the hearing. More information on appeals is found under Post-judgment Proceedings.
A natural person (not a business or public entity) may file a claim for no more than or equal to $10,000.00, with a few exceptions.
If you have a claim for more than $10,000.00, you may file your action in the Civil Division of the Superior Court. You may, however, waive your right to any amount over $10,000.00 and file the matter in Small Claims.
Trials heard: Monday through Thursday: 1:00 PM
Office Hours: Mon - Fri: Drop box filings are open 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM daily. Documents deposited in the drop box between the hours of 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM are deemed to have been deposited for filing on that day. If your documents are deposited after 4:00 PM, they are deemed to have been deposited for filing on the next open court day. All other filings are by appointment only. To schedule an appointment visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call the above contact number.
phone and visiting hours exclude court holidays | holiday schedule
This information may be downloaded under “Courts/Small Claims.”
Yes. The Superior Court of California provides a Small Claims Advisor at no cost. The Advisor is available to assist with Small Claims issues and procedures from filing through enforcement. The Legal Advisor is available for a phone consultation, only. The advisor may be reached Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 1 PM at (707) 344-1446.
You may check the city’s business licensing bureau or the county clerk’s fictitious business name index. If the business is a corporation, check with the California Secretary of State for the exact name and the agent authorized to receive service of process for the corporation.