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Small Claims Cases   Tags: filing suit, how to sue, lawsuit  

This legal research guide provides information about small claims cases in justice court and provides links to filing information for select Texas counties.
Last Updated: Apr 25, 2014 URL: http://guides.sll.texas.gov/small-claims Print Guide RSS Updates

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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.

Cover Art
American Bar Association guide to resolving legal disputes: inside and outside the courtroom - American Bar Association Staff
Call Number: KF 9084 Z9 A54 2007
ISBN: 9780375721410
Publication Date: 2007
This resource from the American Bar Association has information on the small claims system as well as strategies to resolve a dispute before it necessitates a lawsuit.

Cover Art
Everybody's guide to small claims court - Ralph Warner
Call Number: REF DESK KF 8769 W37 2010
ISBN: 1413311024
Publication Date: 2010
This comprehensive guide to the small claims system provides insight and advice for preparing and filing your small claims suit successfully. Prior editions also available in the circulating collection. It is available remotely through the Legal Information Reference Center database. See our Electronic Databases page to register for remote access.

Who Can I Contact?

  • Justice of the Peace Courts
    The Office of Court Administration has compiled this informational page about Justice of the Peace Courts. It contains links to precinct maps and the Texas Judicial System Directory, where you can find the justice court near you.
 

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 library@sll.texas.gov.

Important:

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.

Some of the electronic resources we refer to in this guide may be in PDF format. Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view PDFs.

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.

  • Bexar County
  • Collin County [PDF]
  • Dallas County
    Some precincts in Dallas County provide forms and procedures specific to their court. Select your precinct, then select the "civil" link to see available information.
  • Denton County
    Some precincts in Denton County provide forms and procedures specific to their court. Select your precinct, then review the links on the left side of the page to view available information.
  • El Paso County [PDF]
  • Fort Bend County
    Some precincts in Fort Bend County provide forms and procedures specific to their court. Select your precinct, then review the links on the left side of the page to see available information.
  • Harris County
  • Hidalgo County
    Some precincts in Hidalgo County provide forms and procedures specific to their court. Select your precinct to see available information.
  • Montgomery County
    Some precincts in Montgomery County provide forms and procedures specific to their court. Select your precinct, then review the links on the left side of the page to see available information.
  • Travis County
    Some precincts in Travis County provide forms and procedures specific to their court. Select your precinct to see available information.
 

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