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  2009-01-01 - Some useful tips for small claims court!

1. No attorneys are allowed. You will be going in alone so it is helpful to consult with a small claims advisor or attorney prior to your hearing.

2. Most courts rely upon temporary judges. These are attorneys who have been licensed at least ten years to practice law in California and who have completed a small claims training program. This also means the judges may not have specific knowledge of the law in your case so the better prepared you are with actual legal information the greater chance you have of succeeding.

3. Be concise and to the point.

4. Never argue with the judge.

5. Bring in original documents and checks whenever possible.

6. Bring in relevant witnesses. Live bodies are better than written statements as the judge does not need to allow written testimony.

7. If the amount in dispute is larger than jurisdictionally allowed you may choose to waive the difference. For example, if your claim is for $8,400.00 and the limit is $7,500.00 you may choose to sue for the maximum and waive the $900.00 difference.

8. Visit the California Department of Consumer Affairs at www.dca.ca.gov for additional information.