• The People Clerk Team

California Small Claims Court Filing Fees

Updated: Jun 5

How much does it cost to file a small claims court case? On average, you will spend around $30- $75 in court fees for your small claims court case. If you win your case, you can request that the defendant reimburse you for your court fees. 💰


Let us help you with your small claims court lawsuit.


Small Claims Court in General


In California, small claims court was set up as a quick and efficient forum to resolve disputes.


  • Small Claims Court Limits. An individual or sole proprietor can sue for $10,000 or less and a corporation or LLC can sue for $5,000 or less.

  • Types of Cases that can be filed in Small Claims. So long as there isn't another court better suited to hear the case, then the lawsuit can be filed in small claims. The most common types of small claims cases in California Small Claims Court are: Landlord/Tenant disputes over the security deposit, Landlord/Tenant disputes over early termination of the lease, unpaid rent, roommate disputes, disputes over loans, contracts (written and oral), auto accidents, disputes over auto repairs, disputes over remodeling or home repairs, damage caused to property, and unpaid bills.

  • How long does the process take? Most small claims cases take 2-3 months from start to finish. The typical small claims court case takes three steps: (1) File the Lawsuit, (2) Serve the lawsuit, and (3) Attend the Hearing.

  • What is a small claims court hearing like? Small claims hearings are meant to be quick and informal. They last around 15 minutes and each party gets to tell the judge their side of the story and present evidence.


Fee To File a Case


To file a small claims court lawsuit in California you must prepare Plaintiff’s Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court (SC-100). The amount you will pay to file the lawsuit depends on how much you claim the Defendant owes you.


  • If you are owed $1,500 or less, then your filing fee is $30.

  • If you are owed more than $1,500 but less than or equal to $5,000, then your filing fee is $50.

  • If you are owed more than $5,000 but less than or equal to $10,000, then your filing fee is $75.

  • If you have filed 12+ cases in California Small Claims Court in the previous 12 months, then it doesn't matter how much you are owed and your filing fee is $100.


Fee to Serve the Defendant Using the Court Clerk


Once you file your small claims court case, you need to serve the defendant. There are many ways to serve the lawsuit. One way is to ask the Court Clerk to serve the complaint.


  • Costs: Around $10-$15 (costs differ depending on the county).

  • The court clerk notifies the defendant of the lawsuit by mailing the documents using certified mail. Only the Court Clerk can serve using certified mail.

  • The defendant must sign the certified mail receipt clearly (if no signature or illegible signature, then service is invalid). We do not recommend this option as it is only successful 50% of the time (and according to some sources it is only successful 5% of the time) 🛑.

  • We recommend you serve the defendant using a process server, the sheriff or a friend instead of using the court clerk.


Fee to Change the Hearing Date


Once you file your small claims court case, the court clerk will give you a hearing date. If you can no longer attend the hearing on that date, you can file a request to change the hearing date.


  • If the Defendant has been served, the fee is $10.

  • If the Defendant has not been served, there is no fee.

For other court fees, see here.


Let us help you with your small claims court lawsuit.


People Clerk is here to help you throughout the Small Claims Court Process.


Check out our other articles:

How to File Your California Small Claims Court Case

Quick List of Forms for California Small Claims Court




260 views

We have your back

with California Small Claims Disputes.

FOLLOW US 

Courts

Alameda

Alpine

Amador 

Butte

Calaveras

Colusa

Contra Costa

Del Norte

El Dorado

Fresno

Glenn

Humboldt

Imperial

Inyo

Kern

Kings

Lake

Lassen

Los Angeles

Madera

Marin

Mariposa

Mendocino

Merced

Modoc

Mono

Monterey

Napa

Nevada

Orange

Placer

Plumas

Riverside

Sacramento

San Benito

San Bernardino

San Diego 

San Francisco

San Joaquin 

San Luis Obispo

San Mateo

Santa Barbara

Santa Clara

Santa Cruz

Shasta

Sierra

Siskiyou

Solano

Sonoma

Stanislaus

Sutter

Tehama

Trinity

Tulare

Tuolumne

Ventura

Yolo

Yuba

We serve all California Small Claims Courts.

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon

Courtam, Inc dba People Clerk is not an attorney or a law firm, therefore, People Clerk does not provide legal advice. People Clerk uses technology to reduce the costs of pursuing a small claims dispute. People Clerk can only provide self-help services at your direction. 

People Clerk is not affiliated or endorsed by the California Judicial Branch or any government agency. Blank small claims court forms are available for free on the California Courts website

 

People Clerk does not sell your information to third parties. 

People Clerk is registered in San Mateo County, California as a bonded legal document assistant (2020-1). We can be reached at (650) 385-8507.

© 2020 by Courtam, Inc.