California Small Claims
Small claims court is a special court in California where disputes are resolved quickly and inexpensively. The rules are simple and informal. The person who sues is called the plaintiff. The person who is sued is called the defendant. You are not allowed to have a lawyer represent you at the hearing in small claims court. But you can talk to a lawyer before or after court.
You can sue in small claims court if you are:
- At least 18 years old, OR
- An emancipated child.
If you are not mentally competent, or you are under 18 years old (and not emancipated), a judge must appoint a "guardian ad litem" to represent you in small claims court. A guardian ad litem is an adult appointed by the court to represent you ONLY in the case in question.
There are monetary limits to suing in this court which can be explained by contacting a Small Claims Advisor or going to the court’s website.
Los Angeles - 213.974.9759
In Los Angeles, individuals can speak with a small claims advisor Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm by calling (213) 974-9759. Their hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Court forms are available at the clerk's office and online at: www.courts.ca.gov
Orange County - 714.571.5277
SUPERIOR COURT OF ORANGE COUNTY SMALL CLAIMS COURT STAFF
The Small Claims court staff can assist you in person with forms, filing documents, and procedural matters from Monday-Friday, 8:00am - 4:00pm at three court locations.
SUPERIOR COURT OF ORANGE COUNTY SELF-HELP CENTERS:
Self-Help Center staff is available from Monday-Thursday 8:00am to 4:00pm and Friday 8:00am - 3:00pm to provide procedural guidance and information regarding forms for Small Claims matters at the following locations:
- Central Justice Center: First Floor, Room G-100
- 700 Civic Center Dr. West, Santa Ana, CA 92701
- Harbor Justice Center - Newport Beach Facility: Room 150
- 4601 Jamboree Road, Newport Beach, CA 92660
- Lamoreaux Justice Center: First Floor, Room 101
- 341 The City Dr. South, Orange, CA 92868
- North Justice Center: Upper Level, Room 360
- 1275 North Berkeley Ave., Fullerton, CA 92838
- West Justice Center: First Floor *
- 8141 13th St., Westminster, CA 92683
Small Claims Advisor
The Superior Court provides a Small Claims Advisor at no cost. The advisor is available Monday-Thursday to assist by telephone and in-person only with small claims issues and procedures.
You may call the Small Claims Advisor for information on small claims issues and procedures. Note: The Small Claims Advisor cannot provide any assistance with traffic citations or other case types.
24 hour Recording: (858) 634-1900
Phone Number: (858) 634-1777 available Monday to Thursday
Phone Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Small Claims Advisor Walk-in Clinic:
Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
330 West Broadway Room 225 San Diego, CA 92101
In order to obtain legal advice from the
An Advisory Information Sheet is available in the How to File a Small Claims Case booklet.
Sacramento - 916.875.7846
Small Claims Advisory Clinic
Free assistance is available for both the plaintiff and defendant.
Location: Room 320 on the third floor in the Carol Miller Justice Center.
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday, excluding court holidays. Closed one hour for lunch between 12:00 Noon - 1:00 p.m.