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Lesson 1.
Purpose and Roles


§1.01 Purpose of Small Claims Court


Small claims court is intended to provide an accessible forum to resolve minor civil disputes expeditiously, inexpensively, and fairly. Small claims courts are a fundamental element in the administration of justice and the protection of individuals’ rights and property. [CCP §116.120.]

There are no juries, ordinarily no attorneys at trial, and no formal pleadings, rules of evidence, or findings in small claims actions. You may limit the presentation of evidence and complete the proceedings in a short time, bearing in mind that the parties have a right to their day in court. The spirit of compromise and conciliation should prevail. Your awards, although made in accordance with substantive law, should be based on the application of common sense. [Sanderson v Niemann (1941) 17 C2d 563, 573.]

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