Small Claims Court List of Proposed Witnesses
You must bring the original documents and at least three copies of each document to the hearing. The original may be entered by the court as evidence. Copies are for the judge, the other party (or parties) and yourself. You can complete and submit a Summons to Witness Form [Form 18A]. The court will issue the summons. A fee is charged for the issuance of the summons. A judge usually presides over the conciliation conference. The parties must participate, but the witnesses do not participate. If one of the parties has a representative, the representative may also participate, but the parties must always be present. You must serve the plaintiff with any documents that have not already been attached to your defence and file them with the court at least 14 days before the conciliation conference. You must also complete a list of proposed witnesses [Form 13A], serve it on the applicant, and file it with the court at least 14 days before the conciliation conference. Well in advance of the hearing date, each party must decide if there is a document that is not attached to their claim or defence form that the party wishes to use in the trial to prove their case. If this is the case, the document must be served on any other party and filed with the court at least 14 days before the date fixed for the conciliation conference.
Make detailed notes about when and how you served the document if the court asks you to file an affidavit of service some time later. If you are in court, when it is the other party`s turn to say what happened or ask questions of their witnesses, do not interrupt them. When the defendant files a defence, the parties receive a notice from the conciliation conference courthouse indicating the date, time and place of the conciliation conference. A conciliation conference should be held within 90 days of the filing of the first defence. The verdict is the decision of the judge who heard your case. Typically, a Small Claims Court judge will make a judgment in court after both parties have completed their cases. However, it may happen that the judge does not give the judgment immediately, but makes the decision later (this is called a detention judgment). In this case, a copy of the reasons for judgment or a consent protocol will be sent to each party by post or e-mail when the judgment is delivered. If possible, try to go to court and watch some cases being heard. Small claims courts are open to the public.
Unless the judge decides otherwise, you can sit back and watch each day the court sits. Make two copies of each document you want to give to the judge. The judge may ask you to give a copy to the other party and include a copy in the court record. The court will usually allow you to keep your original. If you are thinking about the future, you will be in a better position to present your case. By presenting your case clearly and as quickly as possible, you make it easier for the judge to understand your case and make a decision. You can help the judge and increase your chances of a favourable decision by being well prepared. It is also helpful to have a Small Claims Court session before the hearing date. This will give you first-hand information on how small claims cases are handled in your district court.
Follow this checklist when preparing for your trial: The summons to the witness must be served on the witness in person at least 10 days before the date of the hearing, along with the attendance fee. Attendance expenses include witness fees and travel expenses. For more information, see « Service of Documents » and « Small Claims Court Costs. » If you are unable to attend the date set for the conciliation conference, you can ask the court to adjourn the conciliation conference and postpone it to another date. Contact the court office for assistance. When thinking about possible witnesses, remember that the best witnesses are usually those who have direct personal knowledge of the facts. You may also want to have experts who you think will support your case, such as a home inspector`s report. The judge decides which statements of the witness are allowed. Before the hearing, the proceedings are explained in the courtroom either by the judge or by another court official. Many courtrooms now use videotapes to explain these procedures. The court will then call the list to see which plaintiffs and defendants are present at their hearings.
Listen carefully to know what to do. Anyone who testifies at a hearing will be asked to take an oath promising to tell the truth. For more information, see Small Claims Court: Suing someone. On the day of your hearing, allow enough time to get to court to accommodate possible transportation or parking delays. Try to arrive early to find the right courtroom. Then relax, listen to the announcements and think about your case. A list of the day`s small court cases, called the « court calendar, » is usually posted outside the courtroom. If you can`t find your name or case on the court calendar, contact the Small Claims Officer.
In our example, the documents include the contract, invoices, purchase agreement, and written estimates. Some of those documents had already been annexed to the applicant`s application and served on the defendant. All new documents (e.g., the report prepared by the building inspector or photocopies) should be served on the defendant and submitted to the court at least 14 days before the settlement conference. In very limited circumstances provided for in the Rules of Procedure, a party may request new proceedings. An application for a new proceeding must be made within 30 days of the final order at trial, unless the court decides otherwise. To do this, deliver and archive: There are signs in the courthouse about other behaviors that are not allowed. You must follow these rules to comply with the court To protect privacy interests, you should only display the last four digits of Social Security numbers on financial records. You can take the originals or copies of your evidence to court, but do not submit your originals to the judge for safekeeping. Some courts will reject your evidence once the judge makes a decision in the case. Always give the judge copies of your evidence or, if you need to show the originals of your evidence, be sure to ask for that evidence before you leave the courtroom. If the judge must keep your evidence and a copy cannot be made, ask the judge to tell the clerks how and when to send the evidence back to you. In cases of property damage, some courts require the plaintiff to provide two or three written estimates of repair costs to prove the appropriateness of the claim.
Create a map, diagram or drawing if you can explain your case more easily and quickly. Witnesses under oath may be heard under oath in a trial. At a conciliation conference, the parties simply tell the judge what the witnesses would say if they were present. Be sure to keep receipts for your registration fees and other expenses. Only certain types of costs (called « eligible costs ») can be recovered from the losing party, but others cannot. The costs that can be reimbursed include the amounts you paid for court costs; the costs of service of disputes (including the costs of searching for the defendant for service, if reasonable); witness fees (but generally not for experts); and the cost of service of summonses (witnesses or documents). Since other types of expenses may be awarded at the judge`s discretion, bring your receipts to the hearing. However, expenses other than those listed above are generally not granted.
If a trial has been adjourned two or more times, a further adjournment may be made only upon request and with notification of all parties to whom a trial has been served, unless the court decides otherwise. For more information, see « Scribe Applications and Instructions. » If a witness is unable to attend the hearing, you can ask them to write and sign a statement called a « statement » to present to the court. This testimony must contain everything the witness wants to tell the judge about your claim or defence. At the end of the testimony, the witness must write: « I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct and that this statement was signed on [date] at [place] – for example. Sacramento, California. The witness must then date and sign the statement and provide their city and telephone number at the time of signing. On the day of the hearing, you will be asked to agree (or stipulate) that a temporary judge, not a regular judge or judicial commissioner, can hear and decide your case.