Representing Yourself in Small Claims Court  

          Disputes over issues like contracts, wages, damages, rent or loans not repaid, is often settled in Small Claims Court. There is a limit to the amount of money that can be claimed through the Small Claims Court. If the disputed amount is within the limit, then going to Small Claims Court for claiming the amount can be helpful.

          In a Small Claims Court, the dispute over money is settled by a judge or a commissioner.
A commissioner can be a lawyer or a person with significant qualification and experience in the field. In Small Claims, the commissioner often acts as a judge and takes decisions regarding certain limited issues.

          You will not have the facility to hire a lawyer in Small Claims Court. Instead you will need to represent yourself. One may fear with the fact that they have to represent themselves since they are not well versed with such legal issues. But with proper organization and planning, representing yourself is not a difficult task. Make sure you have proper evidence to support your case. Of course, you can talk to a lawyer and seek advice before you go to the court.

          With good luck and positive thinking, you can succeed in the court provided you have a strong case, proper evidence collection and a well planned preparation. When you have worked enough to represent yourself in the court, you gain enough confidence too and confidence is the most essential thing when representing yourself.

          Once you have gathered the required documents which prove as evidence, make 2 copies of each document. You can provide any type of written or photographic evidence but those copies must be shared with the other party as well. You can just show the evidence to the other party and take them off. Instead, it is better to have few extra copies so that the one can be given to judge, one for you and other party gets to hold a copy too. The evidences are to be handled over to the bailiff, who hands over them to the judge. Bailiff is a person responsible for maintaining order in the court.

          Learn a few laws regarding the case you have filed. This can be helpful since you’ll be representing yourself. When going to the court make sure that you are filing the lawsuit in the appropriate country. Suing must be done in the same country where the actual dispute took place.

          Keep all the necessary documents ready and organized. It may be difficult to hand out the documents yourself. Hire a professional sheriff or a process server to serve all the people you are suing with separate legal papers. When you are suing a company, you can find an agent to serve the paper.  

For witnesses or paper records, you will need to obtain permission of the court. After filling out the paperwork and serving them to right people, you can obtain or collect records and people as witnesses to prove you right.

          You need to follow the court security measures while going to court. Knives, scissors, cameras, food or drinks are not allowed into the court. Hence avoid distracting the court rules by getting such things. Also, delays are very common in courts and hence you must be prepared for it.

          You may be given a time, but may have to wait an hour there for you case to get started. Whatever it is, make sure you are present at the right time. This reduces the chances of being late. You can take few books or magazines to read during the delay caused, so that you are occupied and will not get tensed up.
          
          When representing yourself make sure you appear appealing. Dress neatly for the hearing. Be polite in your talks and avoid loosing temper. Make yourself comfortable at the court. Your appearance and body language tells a lot and the judge often grabs a lot of information through this.

          When you win, you can start the enforcement of the case judgment. The process is quite tedious and hence it is recommended to hire a judgment enforcer. In case you loose, you can try to make an appeal for the judgment. This is just like starting a new trial. Some states also require you to pay if you lose the appeal.

 

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Representing Yourself in Small Claims Court
 

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