What Is Small Claims Court?

In Philadelphia, small claims cases are heard in municipal court. In other areas of Pennsylvania, small claims cases are heard in either district court or justice court. The person or business that files a claim is the plaintiff or claimant. The person or business that is sued is the defendant. More

Filing a Small Claims Suit

The first step in filing a small claims action is obtaining and filling out the necessary forms. You will need to file a statement of claim and set a time and location for your hearing. A court interviewer will assist you in preparing your statement of claim. More

Small Claims Trials

After the complaint has been filed and the defendant served, both sides need to prepare their case for court. The party with the more convincing proof will win the case. Proof consists of the testimony of witnesses and physical evidence. The courtroom procedure is simple and informal. 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. If the judgment is in your favor and you receive payment, you must sign and give to the other party an order to satisfy that the other party must file with the court clerk to end the case. 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, which includes locating the debtor and the debtor's assets. The court won't 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 for short. All forms of ADR use a neutral person to decide a case or help both sides come to an agreement without a trial. More

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