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Viewing Blog: Preparing for Small Claims Court California
8/4/2010 9:12:19 PM
Preparing for Small Claims Court California

You have been sued or initiated a lawsuit in small claims court California. The documents are filed and your court date is approaching. Now what? Now is the time to start preparing for your hearing.

When you are before the judge in small claims court California, you will have the opportunity to say, in your own words, your side of the story. It is important to remember, however, that the judge was not there when the alleged incidents took place, so the more proof you have, the stronger your case will be. Proof you can bring to the courtroom includes (but is not limited to) witnesses, photographs, contracts, receipts, small items (if your dress was damaged by dry cleaning, for example, you could bring the dress), etc.

Do not try to enhance your evidence or tamper with it in any way. Altering photos or documents will make you look dishonest and raise doubts in the judge’s mind about your ethics. Judges in small claims court California strive to be fair. If you present your evidence honestly, your side of the story will be considered fairly.

You may also use this time to observe hearings. Small claims court California is open to the public. You can sit in on a few cases to get an idea of what to expect on your trial date. If you are nervous about telling your story, ask a friend to observe a case or two with you. Then you can practice what you want to say with them or in front of a mirror. While it may seem silly to do this at first, it will ultimately go a long way to calming your nerves and recalling information you wanted to present on the date of your hearing.

Finally, spend some time considering what you will wear to court. It is inappropriate to wear revealing or provocative clothing in the courtroom. It is taken as a sign of disrespect and will work against you. You should be comfortable and well presented. Avoid track suits, sweat pants, shorts and anything dirty, ill-fitting, torn or worn out. Wear clothes that show the judge you respect yourself and the legal establishment.

It would be difficult not to be nervous when summoned to small claims court California, but if you take the time to be prepared, you will arrive confident and ready; and you will stand a much better chance of leaving with the ruling in your favor.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this site is not legal advice, but general information on legal issues commonly encountered in the Small Claims process.’s Legal Document Service is not a law firm and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. cannot provide legal advice and can only provide self-help services at your specific direction.