For the trial
- Get there 30 minutes early.
- When the judge calls your name, go to the front of the room. The judge may ask you to try to settle your case before the hearing takes place.
- The plaintiff will present his or her case first. Then the defendant will have his or her turn.
- Small claims cases vary but usually only last 10 to 15 minutes. So be prepared to tell your story quickly.
Tell your story
Be quick and to the point and stay calm. It is your job to PROVE your case. Do not wait for the judge to ask you questions. But if the judge asks you questions, answer each question directly and do not interrupt the judge or the other side.
Here are some tips:
- The first thing you need to say is why you are there.
- Tell the judge how you were affected by what the other person did, and
- Why it is their fault.
- Also explain why it is not your fault.
- Say what happened, in the order it happened.
- Group facts together. For example: "From April to August, I took the car in 10 times and he didn't fix the brakes."
After the trial
If you are the plaintiff, get a checklist for what to do after your trial
If you are the defendant, get a checklist for what to do after your trial.