How do I File a Small Claims Appeal?

N. Madison
N. Madison

It isn't usually difficult to file a small claims appeal. In most cases, you can accomplish this by filing a notice of appeal with the court, paying a fee, and delivering copies of the notice to those involved with the case. Before you get started, however, you may do well to consult with a lawyer. He may be able to advise you on whether or not your case is strong enough to warrant an appeal. Most jurisdictions have short time frames during which you may appeal a small claims case, however, so it is usually necessary to decide fairly quickly.

It is usually not difficult to appeal a small claims court judgement, but there is a fee to do so.
It is usually not difficult to appeal a small claims court judgement, but there is a fee to do so.

One of the first steps you may take when you want to file a small claims appeal is contacting an attorney for help. Though you may feel unhappy with the outcome of your case, you may not necessarily have grounds for an appeal. If you explain your case to an experienced lawyer and let him review your case documents, he may offer his opinion of whether you have a strong case or very little chance of winning. Getting a lawyer's opinion may be particularly important if you will file in a jurisdiction in which appeal fees are expensive.

You will typically have a limited amount of time in which to file a small claims appeal as well. In some places, for example, a small claims appeal must be filed within 10 days of the original small claims court decision. You may check with the court clerk to determine what the deadline will be in your case. If you miss the deadline, it is unlikely that you will have another chance to file an appeal.

In most jurisdictions, you will need to file a notice of appeal to get a small claims appeal started. You will likely have to file this notice with the court and pay a fee at the time of filing. In addition to filing a notice to appeal with the court and paying a fee, you may also be required to provide copies of the notice to the opposing party in your case. Some jurisdictions may require you to give a copy to the judge who heard the original case as well.

You may file a small claims appeal without hiring an attorney to represent you in court. If the opposing party has a lawyer or you are confused about how the law applies to your case, you may feel a bit less confident in representing yourself, however. As lawyer fees can be expensive, you may not feel the expense makes sense for pursuing a small claims case. If you want a lawyer's help, but want to keep legal costs low, you may do well to consult with a lawyer but represent yourself in court.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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