1. Always refer to the judge as "Your Honor."
2. Don't interrupt. It does not help and it annoys the judge.
3. Be respectful. No matter what the other party may say, wait for your turn to talk (you will be given time to talk) and speak to the judge (not to the other party) and tell him your story.
4. Bring your entire file, as there may be a document in the file you have to refer to. You do not, however, have to share your file with the other party and should not do so unless instructed by the judge.
5. When the judge asks a question, answer the question with a yes or no (assuming the question can be answered yes or no) and then, if you believe it will help the judge, add any information you feel is necessary to fully answer the question, but nothing more. Adding information that is not necessarily relevant may only confuse the judge and give him a reason to rule against you.
6. Write out your story in a brief outline format. It will help make sure you keep your presentation short while, at the same time, it will make sure you give the judge all the important points.
7. You will have a temporary judge for your hearing. If you do not believe he will be fair, you can ask for a hearing with a "real" judge rather than a temporary one. It may cause you to come back to court if another judge is not available, but you may get a better ruling.
8. You have a very short period of time to tell the judge your case (because there are a lot of other cases), so use your time wisely. Do not add any information that is not factual (such as the fact you think the other party is suing you because you tried to prevent him from defrauding his father). If, however, the judge asks you why you think you are being sued, you can give the judge your theory.
9. Small claims court differs from Superior Court hearings in that the judge does not have to follow the rules.
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