Small Claims

Most Frequently Viewed Resources

Read about where to file your lawsuit or case. Information on jurisdiction and venue.

If you cannot afford the filing fee or other court costs, you may qualify to have these fees and costs waived by the court.

The Constitution; Executive and Administrative Laws; County, Appellate, Supreme Court, and Federal Districts; State Legislation; and Legal Guides.

Whatever the reason, you have the right to represent yourself, to be your own lawyer in all cases in California.

This section will give you general guidelines for how to best prepare yourself for court.

The legal way to give formal notice is to have the other side "served" with a copy of the paperwork that you have filed with the court.

ADR is usually less formal, less expensive, and less time-consuming than a trial.

A handbook from the CA Department of Consumer Affairs.

State offices, district attorneys (DA), and government regulators.

Alphabetical Listing of Resources

Learn about going to small claims court, using instructions and guides to help you with your case. Also learn about trying to resolve your dispute out of court, and get answers to frequently asked questions.

Small claims cases require that you ask the other side for payment before you go to court (unless there is a good reason why you cannot). You can ask in person, by phone, or in writing. You will have to tell the court you did this and how on your court form.

Plan what you are going to say, prepare the proof to take to court, take copies of all your court papers and your Proof of Service, and take people to support your story (witnesses).

The comprehensive guide to making purchases and dealing with companies.

Keeping records, complaining to someone higher up, consulting a lawyer, using mediation services, and other ways to resolve conflicts.

You can request a free interpreter to be with you in court.

A court interpreter verbally translates (called “interpreting”) everything the judge and others say from spoken English into your primary language, and everything you say back into spoken English.

This resource has the answers to commonly asked questions about court interpreters, including how to ask for one.

If you are an individual and want to file a lawsuit for $1, or less, you have the option of filing a small claims case or a limited civil case. If you are a business, you can file in small claims court for $5, or less.

Step-by-step guide for before and after the case.

Learn about civil cases that involve financial issues, including contract disputes, property damage, injury, unpaid debt, and bankruptcy.

Basics on civil court cases.

Courts' services and process, and mediation services.