When you are not able to resolve a problem directly with a another person or a business, Small Claims Court can be an effective option. For disputes within the monetary and subject matter jurisdiction of Small Claims Court, Small Claims Court can be one of the speediest and most effective ways to resolve a dispute.
What is small claims court?
Small claims court is a special court where disputes are resolved quickly and inexpensively. The rules are simple and informal. The person or business who’s suing someone else is called the plaintiff. The person or business who is sued is called the defendant.
Who can sue in small claims court?
Any competent person who is 18 years old or older.
How much money can I ask for?
Any person or business can sue for up to $10,000.00 in the Small Claims Division. Counterclaims may also be filed for up to $10,000.00. If a bona-fide counterclaim or cross-claim is in excess of $10,000.00, the matter shall be handled as a regular civil case. Any person sued for more than $5,000.00 may apply to the Small Claims court for transfer of the matter out of the Small Claims Division to be handled as a regular civil or other case in the Superior Court of Guam, which motion, if timely made, shall be granted as a matter of right. Parties who file their case in the Small Claims Division or who appeal their case are not entitled to a jury trial.
Do I have to pay to file?
Yes. The initial filing fee is based on the amount you are suing for. Please click on link above for fees.
When will my first hearing be set?
Your first hearing will be set for court not earlier than 20 days after you file your claim but may be set beyond 30 days depending on the court calendar.
What kinds of cases go to small claims court?
There are different kinds of cases. The most common are: car accidents, property damage, landlord/tenant rent deposit disputes, and collection of money owed.
What will happen at my hearing?
The judge will listen to both sides of the story. To help tell your side, bring evidence like: witnesses, pictures, bills, receipts, contracts, repair estimates, promissory notes or other relevant documents that support claim/case. The judge may make a decision at your hearing, or decide at a later date (if at a later date you will be notified). Instead of a judge, you may have a Judge Pro Tem (temporary judge) or Referee at your hearing. They have the power of judges and are lawyers appointed to hear and decides cases.