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How do I Prepare for Trial in Small Claims Court?

Question and Answer

How do I Prepare for Trial in Small Claims Court?


If you are the plaintiff , you must prove your case. Arrange to have any witnesses and records you need to prove your case at the trial. A written statement, even if under oath, cannot be used at trial.. Only actual testimony in court of what the witness(es) heard or saw will be allowed. Prepare your questions in advance. Be prepared to present to court records of any transactions that might help you prove your case. Examples:


  • Cancelled checks, money orders, sales receipts.
  • Bills, contracts, estimates, leases.
  • Letters.
  • Photographs.
  • Other documents proving your claim.


If you are the defendant , you should prepare your side of the case as the plaintiff prepared his or her case. Have all necessary witnesses and documents available on the scheduled trial date. You must appear at the trial at the time and date shown on the summons . If you do not, a default judgment might be entered against you, and you might have to pay the money the plaintiff says you owe.


If you are able to settle the case with the plaintiff before the trial date, call the Special Civil Part Office right away to tell them that the case has been settled.