Small Claims Division

Overview
Welcome to the 56-B Small Claims Division. The Small Claims Division is responsible for processing and setting hearing dates for all small claims. In the 56-B District, small claims are heard by an Attorney Magistrate or the District Court Judge.

The Small Claims Court was established in 1968 as a division of the District Court system. Its purpose is to provide a court to be used by people without the aid of attorneys to settle monetary disputes of $6,000 or less, or to acquire some type of fair settlement.

You do not need to know anything about the law to bring a suit in Small Claims Court. Because lawyers are not allowed to argue cases for clients, you don't need a lawyer; you simply state your case in your own words. After both sides have been heard, the judge or magistrate decides on who is right.

If you win the case, the defendant must comply with the judge's ruling. It's important to remember that a judge's decision is final in small claims court. It cannot be appealed to a higher court. However, if the case is heard by a magistrate, either the plaintiff or the defendant may, within seven days from the issue date of the judgment, ask that the case be reheard by a judge if the magistrate's decision is unfavorable.

When you file in Small Claims Court, you give up or waive the following rights:

  • The right to be represented by an attorney.
  • The right to have a jury trial.
  • The right to appeal the final decision of the court (unless the case is heard by a magistrate).
The defendant may choose not to give up these rights. He or she can demand before, or at any time of the hearing, that the case be transferred to the General Civil Division.

More information regarding small claims may be found on the state court website.