What is Small Claims Court?

In New York, the small claims court is a simple, inexpensive and informal court where an individual can sue for money only, up to $5,000, without a lawyer. Claims for more than $5,000 may not be brought in a small claims court; they must be brought in a different court. More

Filing a Small Claims Suit

Filing a small claims complaint is simple. You go to the clerks office to get the form, which requires a brief statement about the incident that's the basis of your claim, the name and address of the party you're suing, the amount you're suing for and the reason you are suing. More

Small Claims Trials

Be prepared for the trial in your small claims case. Arrive for court at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time for your hearing, and have all evidence and witnesses ready. Learn what to expect during trial, and when and how you'll receive the court's decision. More

Witnesses at a Small Claims Trial

Witnesses are people who come to court to tell what they've 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're the plaintiff or the defendant, you may bring witnesses to trial to support your story. More

After Small Claims Court

After your small claims trial is over, you may need to get paid or pay what you owe; you may also want to appeal the judgment. Either a side of a claim may appeal the judge's decision. When you appeal a decision, you ask a higher court to review it for any error. More

Collecting the Judgment

If you win your case, the court will enter a judgment for a sum of money. The award then must be "enforced" or collected from the other party. You may need to take action and spend money to enforce the judgment. Sometimes it's difficult or even impossible to enforce the judgment. 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. It's a process in which a neutral person helps people resolve their case. ADR is usually less formal, less expensive and less time-consuming than a trial. More

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