Hawaii Small Claims Forms - Small Claims

Hawaii Small Claims Court FAQ Small Claims Court Hawaii Limit

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 place where people can resolve legal disputes involving smaller amounts of money without needing to hire a lawyer. In Hawaii, small claims courts are similar to those in other states. They provide a simplified and informal process for individuals to seek compensation or resolve issues. These courts usually hear cases involving disputes such as unpaid debts, property damage, or issues with landlords. Small claims courts in Hawaii aim to make the process accessible and affordable for all individuals, allowing them to present their case and have a judge make a fair decision. It's a way for people to seek justice for smaller matters without the need for costly legal proceedings.

Why File a Small Claims Case?

Filing a small claims case in Hawaii could be beneficial for multiple reasons. Firstly, it provides an accessible and affordable way for individuals to resolve disputes without needing to hire expensive lawyers. By presenting your case to a judge, you have an opportunity to seek justice and have your voice heard in a simple and easy manner. It's an ideal option when you have a small-scale issue that needs to be resolved quickly, such as recovering a small amount of money owed to you or resolving a neighborly dispute. It saves you from the hassle and expense of going through the traditional court system, and it provides a convenient avenue for seeking a fair resolution.

Small Claims Court Limits for Each State

Each state has its own rules and limits for small claims court. In Hawaii, the maximum amount you can sue for in small claims court is $5,000. This means that if you have a dispute or a claim that is worth $5,000 or less, you can take it to small claims court in Hawaii. Small claims court is designed to be a simpler and more informal way to settle disputes without the need for expensive lawyers or lengthy trials. It's a way for regular people to resolve their disputes quickly and fairly. So, if you have a smaller claim, and you're in Hawaii, you can take it to small claims court up to $5,000.

Small Claims Demand Letter Example

A Small Claims Demand Letter Example in Hawaii is a straightforward document that an individual can use to request payment for a dispute or damages in a local small claims court. It is a simple way to communicate to the other party about your intentions to take legal action if they fail to resolve the matter. In the letter, you will typically include details about the dispute, any evidence you have, and the amount of money you are seeking. It is important to use clear and direct language, as well as polite and professional wording, to convey your message effectively.

Filing a Small Claims Case in 5 Steps

Filing a small claims case in Hawaii can be done in just 5 simple steps. First, gather all your relevant documents and evidence to support your case. Next, identify the correct court for your case based on the amount of money you are seeking. Then, fill out the necessary forms provided by the court, making sure to include all the required information. After completing the forms, make several copies and file them with the court clerk, paying the required filing fee. Finally, serve the defendant with the filed documents and wait for your court date. By following these steps, you can easily file a small claims case in Hawaii and seek resolution for your dispute.