Small Claims Glossary

  • County Court: County court is the court with jurisdiction or legal authority to determine all small claims actions.
  • Default Judgment: When the defendant fails to respond or show up to defend against the statement of claim, the clerk or the judge may enter a default judgment. 
  • Defendant: The defendant is the person, business or corporation being sued by the plaintiff. If an individual is being sued, they must be at least 18 years old.
  • Execution of Judgment: Execution of judgment is the method by which the person winning the suit, also known as the prevailing party, collects the money, property or action ordered in the judgment.
  • Filing Fees and Court Costs: Filing fees and court costs refer to the costs that a plaintiff must pay to file a small claims action or suit, which are paid to the clerk of court. These costs may be recovered from the defendant if the suit has been resolved in the plaintiff’s favor.
  • Judgment: Judgment refers to the judge’s written ruling on the case.
  • Litigant: A litigant refers to either the plaintiff or defendant in a suit.
  • Plaintiff: A plaintiff is the person filing the case requesting that the court require the defendant to either pay a certain amount or perform some act. The plaintiff must be at least 18 years old, if under 18, the plaintiff must have an adult file the case on their behalf.
  • Pleadings: Pleadings can be requests that either the plaintiff or defendant make to the judge during the trial.
  • Pre-trial Conference: A pretrial conference is a court hearing for the judge to review the case prior to trial.
  • Relief: Relief is what the plaintiff requests the defendant do to resolve the suit. This may involve performing an act which ends the dispute.
  • Satisfaction of Judgment: The satisfaction of judgment form confirms that the terms in the judgment have been met by the defendant and the issue is fully resolved.
  • Service of Process: Service of process occurs when the plaintiff gives the defendant adequate notice of being sued. The defendant is given a copy of the statement of claim.
  • Small Claims Action: A small claims action is a legal case filed in the county court which requests damages in the form of money or property with a value of $5,000 or less or asks the defendant to perform some act which solves the problem.
  • Statement of Claim: A statement of claim is the written pleading or form which states the parties' names, the facts, circumstances and nature of the case, the amount or value of the dispute, and the resolution or outcome requested by the plaintiff.
  • Stipulation or Mediated Agreement: A stipulation or mediated agreement is the result of a process in which the plaintiff and defendant reach a written resolution to the dispute either by themselves or with the help of a neutral mediator.
  • Trial: The trial is the court proceeding in which the plaintiff and defendant present evidence to the judge for ruling on the case.
  • Venue: The venue is the county in which the case should be filed.