Written by attorney Sarah Condor-Fisher

How to Prepare for Small Claims Court

It is not often that you hire an attorney to represent you in a small claims court. Attorney expenses are not recoverable in court. However, an attorney may help prepare you for the court. Here are a few useful points.

Additional resources provided by the author

Use form SC150 if you need to postpone the trial. Always appear because the matter will most likely be decided against you if you do not. You must defend your rights. You should have all the evidence, bills, written paperwork or contract(s) copied three times and neatly arranged: one copy will be for the judge, one for you, one for the other party. Photographic evidence is extremely important (e.g. what the apartment looked like before the lease vs. after the lease terminated, how the goods were damaged, etc.). If your damages exceed $10,000 you should consult with an attorney. It is recommended to consult with an attorney anyway, as he or she may advise you on the intricacies of your particular case. Always assume the other party will have an attorney in court and prepare for it. A flat charge for small claims representation is currently $1500, and if you are under a threat of wage garnishment or other long-term repercussions (credit rating, mortgage, etc.), hire an attorney. It will pay back in the long run.

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