California Small Claims Court: An Overview

Find out about California's small claims process.

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What's the dollar limit for small claims court cases in California?

The most you can ask for in a small claims case is $10,000 (as of 2012), but note that an individual plaintiff may not file a claim over $2,500 more than twice a year. A local public entity or business is limited to $5,000 per year. Suits involving a surety company or a licensed contractor are limited to $4,000.

Which court hears small claims cases in California?

Small claims cases in California are heard in the Small Claims Division (Superior Court).

Are attorneys allowed in small claims court in California?

You are not allowed to have an attorney represent you in small claims court in California.

Can a landlord bring an eviction lawsuit in small claims court in California?

Eviction cases are not allowed in small claims court in California, but must be heard by a higher court.

Do I have a right to a jury trial in small claims court in California?

In California, jury trials are not allowed in small claims court.

Where can I get more information about small claims court in California?

For more information about California small claims court, see www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/smallclaims or www.dca.ca.gov/publications/small_claims/index.shtml.

Nolo's Small Claims Court area has many helpful related articles and a Small Claims Court FAQ. For more detailed help with filing a case, using the best strategy in court, and collecting your money if you win, see Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court in California, by Attorney Ralph Warner (Nolo).

Last updated on 01/05/12.

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