There are a variety of ways to reclaim money from a debtor, one of which is going to small claims court. If you haven’t gone to a small claims hearing before, you might be wondering what to expect.
How to Prepare for a Small Claims Hearing
Going to a small claims court can be daunting, but thoroughly preparing yourself can make the entire process feel a lot more manageable. Before you go to a small claims hearing, the court will send you key information, such as the date and time of the hearing, and instructions of what you need to do. It’s important to check the date and organise work, childcare and social plans with this in mind. You will get at least 21 days’ notice, giving you time to make any necessary arrangements.
The court will also tell you everything you need to know before the hearing. This could include not being able to call a witness, having to pay for extra copies of documents or if the judge has decided to dismiss your claim. You might also be asked to write a witness statement, though this is unlikely for most small claims.
A key part of preparing for a small claims hearing is to send copies of your evidence to the court, and to send another set to the defendant. You will also receive the defendant’s evidence, which you should familiarise yourself with beforehand.
How to Get Ready for a Small Claims Hearing
It’s always a good idea to get everything organised before going to a small claims hearing. This includes putting your evidence in date order, making notes of key points that you want to make and letting a witness know when they will be needed. If you are nervous about going to a small claims hearing, consider sitting in on one beforehand, which is something many courts allow you to do.
What Does Going to a Small Claims Hearing Involve?
Going to a small claims hearing is often a simpler and quicker process than many people assume it to be. The judge will begin by asking questions about any confusing aspects of the evidence. You might be asked to summarise your case and they will likely ask the defendant to do the same. In some cases, you and the defendant might have the chance to ask each other questions, but not always. Once all of the evidence has been presented, the judge will begin the decision making process.
The Results of a Small Claims Hearing
Having taken all of the evidence into account, the judge will give their decision and explain the reasons why they have reached it. If you win your case, you could be awarded all or some of the money that you claimed. You could also be awarded interest, expenses and additional fixed costs. These are all decided by the judge on a case by case basis. It’s important to remember that there is no guarantee that you’ll win your case.
If you lose, you won’t be able to recover the money that is rightfully yours. This is why a lot of people chose to claim debts via a debt collection agency, such as Cobra Financial. Contact our expert team to find out more.