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District of Columbia Small Claims

What is a Small Claims Court?

In the District of Columbia, the Small Claims and Conciliation Branch oversees cases where the amount in dispute is $5,000 or less. Court procedures are informal and simple enough for a person to file a claim or to answer a claim without a lawyer. More

Filing a Small Claims Court?

Before you file a small claims suit, consider the probable chances of winning your lawsuit since you must prove that the person or business you are suing owes you something. A small claims case begins when a statement of claim is filed. Either party may demand a jury trial. More

Small Claims Trials

The plaintiff and the defendant need to prepare for trial and should bring all witnesses and necessary papers to court. After both parties have presented their witnesses, testimony and evidence, the judge will make a decision, called a judgment. More

Witnesses at a Small Claims Trial

Witnesses are people who come to court to tell what they have seen or heard. These people should either be witnesses who saw what happened or experts on the subject matter of the claim involved. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, you may bring witnesses to trial to support your story. More

After Small Claims Court

Generally, the judge's decision will be announced at the end of a small claims trial. The judgment will specify which side prevailed and if money damages are being awarded and the amount of those damages. If you lose your case, you may appeal the decision by filing a motion for judicial review. More

Collecting the Judgment

The small claims process isn't necessarily over just because you filed a claim, went to trial and won a court judgment. You may need to take action and spend money to enforce the judgment. The court will not collect the judgment for you. More

Alternatives to Small Claims Court

There are alternative ways to solve your legal problems outside of court. These alternatives are called alternative dispute resolution or ADR. The Superior Court of D.C. has a Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division that helps parties settle disputes through mediation and other types of ADR. More

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