What should I expect from my day in court?

Small Claims Court proceedings are conducted informally by the judge. You should be prepared when you arrive for your hearing to clearly explain your side of the case. Bring whatever evidence, papers, documents, or other material you need to prove or support your case. You may subpoena witnesses, and you or the judge may question them about the case. A witness fee must be paid to subpoena a witness who is unwilling to appear.

The defendant will, of course, also be allowed to present their case to the judge.

If the defendant has filed a counterclaim against you, that may be heard at the same time. Depending on the circumstances, the judge may either make a decision immediately after hearing both sides or may continue the case to another date. If the defendant was served and does not show up for the hearing, the judge may declare the defendant in default and award judgment to the plaintiff.

Once the judge has announced a decision in a case, the Small Claims procedure is over. It is up to you to collect what is owed you if you win. If you lose, an appeal may be filed in District Court. Appeals do cost more money, since they involve payment of another filing fee, legal advice from an attorney, ect.

Show All Answers

1. What is Small Claims Court?
2. What is required to file a case in Small Claims Court?
3. Who can be sued in Small Claims Court?
4. How do I file a claim?
5. What happens after a claim is filed?
6. What should I expect from my day in court?
7. If I win my case, how do I collect the money/property?
8. How do I appeal a case?
9. What do I do if I'm being sued in Small Claims Court?
10. What legal choices are open to me besides Small Claims Court?