Small Claims Assistance

Explicitly recognizing that “[i]ndividual minor civil disputes are of special importance to the parties and of significant social and economic consequence collectively,” and that the need for a judicial forum to resolve such disputes constitutes “a fundamental element in the administration of justice and the protection of the rights and property of individuals,” the California Legislature passed the Small Claims Act with the stated policy of resolving said disputes “expeditiously, inexpensively, and fairly.” California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 116.120.

Without doubt intending to facilitate its stated policy, the Legislature passed Section 116.530, which prevents attorneys from taking part in Small Claims actions. However, this often leaves non-attorney parties ignorant of the law which the judge will use to decide the case. As a result, parties which do not understand the legal elements and evidence needed to prove or defend their case often find that their experiences in Small Claims are unsatisfying and require appeal. Accordingly, the resolution of their problems may be unnecessarily delayed, or may remain unresolved.

An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can help you in your Small Claims case in several important ways.  He or she can show you what you will need to ‘prove up’ your claim or defense.  He may help you to understand and complete the various forms required and to navigate procedural hurdles.  He may also counsel you during your appearance.  Finally, attorneys are permitted to argue on your behalf in Small Claims appeals. If you are, or want to be, a party in a Small Claims case, call me for an initial consultation so that we can determine how best to proceed with your case, and how to create an affordable payment plan.