New Hampshire Small Claims Forms - Nh Small Claims Court Forms

New Hampshire Small Claims Court FAQ Small Claims Court Nh

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 minor legal disputes involving smaller amounts of money, usually less than a certain limit set by each state. In New Hampshire, the small claims court is called the District Court. It is available to individuals or businesses who want to seek justice for issues like unpaid debts, property damage, or breach of contract. It offers a simplified process that allows people to represent themselves without needing a lawyer. The goal of small claims court is to provide an accessible and affordable way for people to resolve their disputes fairly.

Why File a Small Claims Case?

Filing a small claims case can be a good option for individuals in New Hampshire who are seeking a fair resolution to their disputes. It allows everyday people to bring legal action against someone who has wronged them, typically for amounts up to $10,000. By going to small claims court, you can save time and money compared to a regular court case. It is a more simplified and informal process, where you can represent yourself without the need for an attorney. Small claims cases can be beneficial in situations such as landlord-tenant disputes, unpaid debts, property damage, or contract breaches. It provides an accessible avenue for New Hampshire residents to seek justice and resolve disagreements without the complexities and expenses of a traditional lawsuit.

Small Claims Court Limits for Each State

Small claims court limits vary from state to state, which means each state has its own set of rules and maximum claim amounts. In New Hampshire, the maximum claim limit for small claims court is $7,500. This means that if you have a dispute or disagreement with someone and the amount of money at stake is $7,500 or less, you can take your case to small claims court in New Hampshire. Small claims court is designed to resolve disputes quickly and efficiently, without the need for expensive lawyers or complex legal procedures. It is a simplified and accessible avenue to seek justice for smaller monetary claims.

Small Claims Demand Letter Example

A small claims demand letter is a written request sent by an individual or business to another party in New Hampshire who owes them money or has caused them harm. This letter explains the problem, demands a specific amount of money as compensation, and provides a deadline for the recipient to respond. It is a straightforward way to try and resolve disputes without going to court. The demand letter in New Hampshire must be clear, concise, and written in plain language that anyone can understand. It should state the facts, assert your rights, and politely ask for what you are owed. It is important to keep a copy of the letter and any other correspondence related to the issue for future reference.

Filing a Small Claims Case in 5 Steps

Filing a small claims case in New Hampshire can be done in 5 simple steps. Firstly, you'll need to gather all relevant information about your case, such as receipts, contracts, or any other evidence. Then, you should go to your local courthouse and ask for a small claims form that you need to fill out accurately. Once the form is complete, make copies for yourself and your opponent (the person you are suing) and return the original to the court clerk. Next, pay the filing fee, which is typically required to submit your claim. After that, you must notify the opposing party about the case by serving them with a copy of the claim form. You can use a sheriff, constable, or a certified mail service for this step. Finally, attend the court date assigned to you, present your evidence, and state your case confidently to the judge. By following these steps, you can navigate the process of filing a small claims case in New Hampshire.