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The Basics

When you file your claim, you will be assigned a case number beginning with the letters SC and a court date.

The jurisdictional limit of Small Claims Court is $10,000 for plaintiffs filing as individuals or "natural persons." Corporations and other entities may file suit for a maximum of $5,000.00. Suits against "guarantors" are limited to $4,000.00. Visit www.courts,ca.gov for more information. The jurisdictional limits do not include court costs. You may file only 2 claims in excess of $2,500.00 anywhere in the state in any calendar year. There is no limit to the number of claims you can file under $2,500.00. However there is an increased filing fee if you file more than 12 claims in the previous 12 months.

You cannot be represented by an attorney at trial. You may consult with an attorney about your case before and after trial. You may be represented by an attorney on appeal.

In San Luis Obispo County, Small Claims trials are primarily heard by court commissioners and occasionally judge pro tems. You may request to have your case heard by a court commissior or superior court judge. Talk to the advisory for more information.

 

The Small Claims Court judge does not have the power to grant injunctions and the court will not hear family law matters.

 

The California Courts offers the Self-Help Center for self-represented litigants at www.courts.ca.gov. The site takes Small Claims litigants step-by-step through the Small Claims process from filing of the claim, serving the other party, preparing for trial, collecting and satisfying the judgment. Information is available for both plaintiffs and defendants.