Arkansas Small Claims Forms - Arkansas Small Claims Court Forms

Arkansas Small Claims Court FAQ Small Claim

Who hears the claims in small claims court?

In small claims court, the trial is an informal hearing before a judge. There is no jury and the plaintiff presents his or her evidence and witnesses. The defendant is also responsible for presenting his or her witnesses. After hearing both sides of the dispute, the judge will render a verdict based on the law and the facts presented.

Who may file a claim in small claims court?  An individual, partnership or corporation (or LLC) may file a claim against another individual(s), partnership or corporation (LLC) in small claims court, if jurisdiction exists to hear the claim, if the amount of the claim does not exceed the statutory limits.

What must I do before I file a claim?  Before you file a claim, get the facts straight so you can complete the forms correctly and answer any questions court personnel may need to know. Be sure to obtain the correct legal name of the defendant, correct address and place/address of employment. If the defendant is a corporation or LLC you would use the legal corporate or LLC name as the defendant. 

How do I file a claim?  The plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney should go to the small claims division of the district court in the particular county where the person or business to be sued has an office or is domiciled and file a Statement of  Claim Form. The plaintiff is responsible for furnishing the court with the correct and complete address of the defendant. The clerk will assign the plaintiff a case number and this number must be used whenever contacting the court concerning the particular case. A filing fee is required at the time the claim is filed. If the plaintiff cannot afford to prepay the fee at the time of the filing, he or she can submit an Affidavit of Substantial Hardship and request that the judge delay the payment. 

Who serves the defendant with summons or process and how is the defendant served?  The clerk of the court will issue a summons ordering the defendant to appear in court. The summons and the complaint must be served on the defendant. The summons and the complaint may be served by certified or registered mail. If the court provides this service, there may be an additional fee. If the defendant cannot be served using these methods, the precinct constable or any registered private process server will serve the summons and complaint for a fee. 

How are hearings scheduled? The clerk of the court will provide you with the procedure to set the case for trial or hearing at the time you file your claim. 

May I subpoena witnesses? If witnesses are required, but unwilling to attend the hearing unless they are subpoenaed, you may obtain a subpoena issued by the court clerk for service on the witness. The subpoena is an order for the witness to appear at the hearing to testify. Some employer may require that an employee be subpoenaed in order to be excused from work. 

What are the trial procedures? The trial procedure is generally more informal than other courts. The case will usually be called in open court and you will respond that you are present and ready to proceed. You will then be advised when to present your claim. Be prepared to present your claim in your own words. Be prepared to question witnesses if witnesses are needed. 

What happens if the defendant does not appear at trial?  If the defendant does not appear at trial, a default judgment will be entered in the plaintiff's favor for the amount of the claim or other relief. After judgment is obtained and the appeal time has expired, the plaintiff may seek to collect the judgment by acceptable means of collection. 

What are the common forms used in small claims court?  Common forms used in small claims court are:

  • Claim Statement/Complaint
  • Summons
  • Return of Summons
  • Answer
  • Subpoena
  • Abstract of Judgment

What Is a Small Claims Court?

A Small Claims Court is a special court where people can resolve legal disputes in a quicker and simpler way, without having to involve expensive lawyers. In Arkansas, a Small Claims Court is available to individuals and businesses to handle cases involving small amounts of money, generally under $5,000. It is designed to handle straightforward cases where both parties can present their side of the story and evidence to a judge, who will make a fair decision. This court aims to provide a more accessible and affordable option for resolving disputes between regular people and small businesses in the state.

Why File a Small Claims Case?

You might consider filing a small claims case in Arkansas if you have a dispute with someone and want to pursue a legal resolution without the need for expensive attorneys or a lengthy court process. Filing a small claims case allows you to seek a fair and just resolution while saving time and money. In Arkansas, small claims courts are designed to handle lower-value disputes, typically involving amounts up to $5,000. By filing a small claims case, you can bring attention to your issue, present your side of the story, and potentially receive compensation or a resolution that satisfies both parties. It's a straightforward and accessible way to address your concerns fairly and efficiently.

Small Claims Court Limits for Each State

Small claims court is a legal channel for individuals to resolve minor disputes without the need for expensive attorneys or complex legal procedures. Each state has set its own limits on the maximum amount of money that can be claimed in small claims court cases. In Arkansas, the limit for small claims court is currently $5,000. This means that if you have a dispute over money or damages that is valued at or below $5,000, you can file a case in small claims court. This system is designed to be accessible and user-friendly, making it easier for people to seek justice and resolve their conflicts in a simpler and more affordable way.

Small Claims Demand Letter Example

A small claims demand letter is like a friendly nudge asking someone to pay you back. If you're in Arkansas, and you'd like to try resolving a dispute without going to court, you might consider sending a small claims demand letter. This letter clearly explains why you believe you're owed money and gives the other person a chance to settle the issue before taking legal action. It's a straightforward way to communicate your concerns and try to reach a resolution without having to hire a lawyer or go through a lengthy court process.

Filing a Small Claims Case in 5 Steps

Filing a small claims case in Arkansas can be done in just 5 simple steps. First, gather all the necessary information and documents related to your case, such as receipts, contracts, and any evidence supporting your claim. Next, visit your local district court to obtain the required forms for filing a small claims case. Fill out these forms accurately, making sure to include all relevant details about your case. After completing the forms, make copies of everything, including any supporting documents, to keep for your records. Finally, bring all the forms and copies to the district court and pay any necessary filing fees. Once your case is officially filed, you will be given a court date for your small claims hearing.