Resources at the State Law Library
Below are some of the library resources that can provide further guidance on this topic. The Texas State Law Library has many other resources in addition to the highlights we present below. Please call us at (512) 463-1722 if you have any questions about these materials.
Who Can I Contact?
Legal Research Guides from the Texas State Law Library
The Texas State Law Library reference librarians have compiled legal research guides for specific areas of the law. These guides contain resources that can help you research a legal issue. The American Association of Law Libraries has a guide for Non-Lawyers on How to Research a Legal Problem. If you have any questions, please contact us at (512) 463-1722 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information provided on this page has been prepared for general information purposes only and should not be construed as, nor substituted for, legal advice. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney for advice specific to your fact situation. Your local bar association or the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral Information Service (1-800-252-9690) can assist you with locating an attorney.
Introduction to Small Claims
Small claims are cases filed in the justice court system in Texas in which litigants often resolve legal disputes on their own without having to hire a lawyer. Small claims are more informal than district or county courts and do not require the same extensive knowledge of the law or court rules and procedures. The limit to the amount that a person can sue for in justice court is $10,000 in Texas.
Before filing a lawsuit in justice court, attempt to resolve your problems with the other party. It is always better to come to a solution that both parties can agree to than to have to file suit. Should you decide to file a lawsuit in justice court, information on how to do so can be found on this page.
Prior to August 31, 2013, the Texas court system consisted of both "small claims courts" and "justice courts" which both had jurisdiction over civil claims of less than $10,000. On July 19, 2011, the state legislature passed a bill which abolished the small claims court and added language that small claims are now to be heard in justice court. Many resources that discuss strategies for presenting a case in small claims court will still be relevant to cases in justice court; however, statutory references may be out of date in anything published prior to 2013.
Texas Law and Rules
Below you will find references to areas of the Texas Government Code and Texas Rules of Civil Procedure that govern small claims in justice court. If you find these statutes difficult to understand, you may want to look at the "plain English" resources on this page or speak to an attorney.
Explained in "Plain English"
Because Texas and federal law may not be easy to understand, below you'll find a collection of resources that help to explain the law in "plain English."
Abolition of Small Claims Court
In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed a bill which eliminated the separate small claims court, which had been described at Government Code ch. 28 and gave the justice court jurisdiction over these cases. This legislation became effective August 31, 2013. The resources below include bills and articles relevant to this change.
Filing Information for Select Texas Counties
Below are links to filing information for some of the most populous counties in Texas. If you do not see your county listed here, contact your justice of the peace court for more information.