Small Claims Courts Of Washington State
Posted Aug 26, 2019
By Washington State Business Law and Litigation Lawyer Babak Shamsi
Each district court in Washington State has a small claims division that provides an avenue for parties to resolve small monetary disputes. This division is generally referred to as small claims court. Small claims court utilizes a very streamlined process so that parties can resolve small disputes without having to spend extensive time and money in pursuit of judicial relief.
Effective July 28, 2019, the jurisdictional limit for small claims court has increased from $5,000 to $10,000 in all cases brought by “natural persons”, otherwise better known as human beings, while all other parties (i.e. businesses, etc.) still cannot bring claims in excess of $5,000. Washington State has now followed other jurisdictions, such as California, in increasing the jurisdictional amount for small claims court, and in doing so, recognized the inherent costs of litigation and attempted to provide individuals with viable alternatives for relief.
Parties are required to follow several steps to ensure their claim will be heard in small claims court and will have to pay a small filing fee. If the parties do not settle their dispute, they will be asked to present their claims and defenses, with evidence, at a specified hearing date, and the judge will typically resolve the dispute at that time. This process is faster, cheaper, and more informal than standard litigation. Parties cannot be represented by legal counsel in small claims court. Therefore, for more complex issues, small claims court may not be the best answer.
The lawyers at Beresford Booth hold extensive experience assisting individuals in all manner of disputes, and can provide guidance should you find yourself in need of legal counsel.
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