ID Small Claims Trials

In Idaho, parties to a small claims lawsuit may attempt to settle their claim through stipulation or mediation. You'll need to go to trial only if an agreement doesn't occur between you and the other party.

A trial date is scheduled by the court if the dispute can't be settled. The parties must appear at the trial with all witnesses and documentation.


If the defendant admits to owing the plaintiff money or property, the case can be settled. If the defendant needs time to pay and the plaintiff agrees to the terms, the court may enter a stipulation. The stipulation states the terms and conditions for settling the case.

The parties may also be given an opportunity to meet with a mediator to see if they can come to an agreement. If the parties don't come to an agreement, a date is scheduled for everyone to return for a trial. If the parties agree during mediation, the terms of the agreement is set out by the mediator, signed by the parties and filed with the clerk.


If the parties are unable to reach an agreement through stipulation or mediation, they must appear for trial on the date and at the time scheduled by the clerk. If your case is set for trial, be prepared and on time. Have documents, photographs and witnesses ready. No attorneys are allowed in small claims hearings in Idaho.

At trial, both parties have the opportunity to speak to the judge and ask questions of each other and witnesses. The judge may ask questions of the plaintiff, defendant and witnesses as needed. The judge considers all evidence and testimony. The ruling of the judge is written in the form of a judgment. Sometimes, the judge doesn't make a decision at trial, and the judgment is mailed to both parties.


The evidence you should bring to trial to support your claims or defenses includes:

  • Documents such as contracts, notes, leases and receipts
  • Records
  • Photographs
  • Drawings

Courtroom Conduct

You should follow these general suggestions for courtroom conduct:

  • Be on time for your trial
  • Stick to the issues in dispute when presenting your case
  • Be polite at all times and don't interrupt the judge, the defendant or any of the witnesses at any time
  • If you don't understand something during the trial, ask the judge when it's your turn to speak
  • If an offer to settle your dispute comes up during your trial, think about accepting it because it may be in your best interest to do so

Failure to Appear

If the defendant doesn't appear at trial, you're granted a default judgment for the amount of your claim, plus your filing and service costs. If you fail to appear at trial, the judge will dismiss your claim.

Final Judgment

A final judgment is a legal document that states that one party is entitled to recover damages in a specified amount from another party. Interest is added on the amount awarded until the final judgment is satisfied.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • Can an attorney come with me into the courtroom?
  • What should I take with me to court?
  • What happens if I can't make it to court on my scheduled trial date?
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