Small claims are cases filed in the justice court system (also referred to as justice of the peace courts) in Texas. Justice courts provide a more informal setting than the district or county courts, so parties will often represent themselves rather than hiring an attorney. The limit to the amount that a person can sue for in justice court is $10,000. Justice courts can also settle landlord/tenant disputes such as evictions and repairs.
Before filing a lawsuit in justice court, it is always recommended you 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. If you do decide to file a lawsuit in justice court, information on how to do so can be found in this guide.
Below you will find references to areas of the Texas law and court rules related to small claims cases. If you find these statutes difficult to understand, please see the Understanding the Law resources below for a "plain English" explanation of these laws.
During the 2019 Legislative Session, changes were made to the laws to expand the jurisdiction of the justice courts. Beginning in September 2020, justice courts will be able to hear most civil cases where the amount in question does not exceed $20,000 (currently $10,000). You can see the changes to the law at the link below.
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.