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Small Claims Cases

This legal research guide provides information about small claims cases in justice court and provides links to filing information for select Texas counties.

General Information


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. Professional mediators at a dispute resolution center might be able to help you come to an agreement. Should you decide to file a lawsuit in justice court, information on how to do so can be found on this page.

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.

Recent Legislation

During the 2019 Legislative Session, new laws were passed to expand the jurisdiction of justice of the peace courts to civil cases in which the amount in question does not exceed $20,000. These changes are set to go in to effect in September 2020. To read this recent legislation as well as the changes made to the Government Code, see the links below:

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.”

E-Books Available from the Texas State Law Library

These e-books contain information on small claims court. These e-books can be viewed by those who have signed up for a free library account with the State Law Library. Only Texas residents are eligible to create an account. Creating an account is free.

Books at the Texas State Law Library

These print books at the State Law Library contain information related to small claims court. If you are not able to visit the State Law Library in Austin, these books might be available at a law library near you or a public library near you.