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Small Claims

Resources for Handling Small Claims Inquiries/Matters

Often visitors to the Free Legal Clinic have cases pending or matters that are appropriate for handling in Small Claims Court. Here are some key things to know for assisting such persons:

1. The very detailed “Small Claims Act” is found in CCP sec. 116.110 et seq.

2. The Ventura County Superior Court has very succinct, very, very helpful information on its website at:
http://www.ventura.courts.ca.gov/small-claims.html

3. In addition, the District Attorney’s office has a “Small Claims Advisor” located in “the Courthouse in Ventura.” The Small Claims Advisor may be reached by calling (805) 654-5054.” (See above website).  The Small Claims Advisor is available by telephone or by walk-in (DA’s office Room 314) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. generally Monday through Friday (except holidays).

4. “The Small Claims Court: A Guide to Its Practical Use” is a 50 or so page booklet written in non-legalese published by the California Department of Consumer Affairs. This is a very good resource. It is available online at:
https://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/small_claims/index.shtml and in a pdf format at: https://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/small_claims/small_claims.pdf

One can try calling the Department at 866-320-8652 to see whether they are still mailing out free copies in English or Spanish. As of September 10, 2018, they were no longer doing so.

5. Nolo Press book: Everybody’s Guide to Small Claims Court in California. Available in the reference area in the Ventura County Law Library.

6. California Judges Benchbook: Small Claims Court and Consumer Law (Cal CJER 2017). Written by the Judicial Council of California’ Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER) and published by Thomson Reuters. Available in the Law Library at KB86 A5 S6 C3 and possibly online via Westlaw or Lexis. An excellent resource.

7. Other California Judges Benchbooks may have sections or elements relating to Small Claims Court or issues that may arise in small claims matters. Available in print in the Law Library and possibly online via Westlaw or Lexis.

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