California Small Claims Court Forms
Handling a case in small claims court is a lot easier than most people think it would be. In fact, the Judicial Council of California hosts a wide variety of fillable pdf forms that allow you to draft your claim or response on the computer. These forms were updated January 1, 2011 by the Judicial Council to reflect changes made during the 2010 year. We will review the basic forms needed for the plaintiff and defendant along with certain cases that will require additional forms.
Note: the drawback to these forms is that you cannot save them. Thus you will fill out the form and then print it out. I recommend printing out a copy (to review for typos and misspellings), making the corrections, and then printing out the second copy for the court. Also, I’ve made all the links on this page to the forms open in a new window so that you can refer back to this page for assistance in completing the forms.
If you want to take someone to small claims court, you need to fill out form SC-100. Fill out the address on page 1, the information on page 2, and 3 and you are set. Take this to your clerk’s office (located in your local county courthouse).
Note: as a Plaintiff, you waive your right to appeal by submitting your claim to small claims court. This means that you are stuck with the court’s ruling and may not appeal it.
If there are more than two plaintiffs or more than two defendants, you will need to also fill out form SC-100A. This is a simple form asking for information such as the name and address of the additional parties.
After being served with a plaintiff’s claim, a defendant responds by filling out form SC-120. Fill out the address in the upper right of the court on the first page (should be the same as the address listed on the paper you were served with by the plaintiff). And fill out pages two and three.
Note: like the plaintiff, if you raise a claim in your response, you too waive your right to an appeal on that issue. If the judge rules against you on the plaintiff’s claim, you still may appeal that issue.
Similar to the plaintiff above, the defendant will have to fill out form SC-120A if there are too many parties to list on form SC-120 in items one and two.
Request an Extension
Either the plaintiff or the defendant may file for an extension. A plaintiff can request an extension if not all the defendants have been served. A defendant can request an extension for a reason as well. You need to fill out SC-150. Note: If you are the plaintiff or the defendant check the date your case is scheduled for trial as early as possible. If you have any possible conflict, we encourage you to fill out and file an extension as early as possible. In fact, if you do not request it, you have to fill out a specific section (item 5) on form SC-150 explaining why you waited so long to ask for an extension.
Case Involving Attorneys’ Fees
A specific case that requires an additional form is a dispute involving attorney-client fees. Form SC-101 is required to be attached per Item 7 on form SC-100. This form lets the court know that you are suing for a disagreement for $5,000.00 in less in attorneys fees and that you have tried to solve the dispute through arbitration. The form asks for some basic information including what the arbitrator’s decision was. The second page also details what your rights are. If you are a client in a dispute with an attorney, we strongly encourage you to read this form through prior to initiating your claim.
For a complete list of forms to use for your small claims court case, visit the California Judicial Council website forms section. Once there, from the drop down menu select “Small Claims” and click the grey button below which reads “See Forms.”