Utlizing Conciliation Court in 2016

I try to have a high degree of practicality when talking with current or prospective clients on what course of action to take. One thing that has been consistently recurring, both in my recommendations and the recommendations of other attorneys I regularly speak with, is the utilization of conciliation court to bring disputes to the forefront for resolution.

The conciliation court dollar limit for a claim is $15,000.00, plus filing fees and costs of service. This is a lot of money, but not enough to financially justify a full blown district court lawsuit and too much to just forget about. The way I see it, disputes of even up to $20,000.00 are prime cases for consideration to be brought in conciliation court. The plaintiff automatically waives the right to recover $5,000.00 to get within the court's limits, but legal fees incurred in a district court lawsuit will dwarf that $5,000.00 difference.

Procedurally, conciliation court is quite relaxed for pro se litigants. There is no cross-examination of witnesses, but exhibits can still be shown to the judge, objections can still be made on the basis of hearsay or lack of foundation, and the sides are able to tell their story.

One thing that cannot happen in conciliation court is awarding injunctive relief. In other words, a conciliation court judge or referee cannot make someone do, or stop doing, something. The only relief that can be granted in conciliation court is money.

Attorneys are permitted to appear in conciliation court and represent parties. But, the role of attorneys in conciliation court is, I think properly, substantially reduced. It really is you, the party in the case, that does the heavy lifting in a conciliation court hearing.

Keeping all the legal tools in mind can lead to good outcomes. Conciliation court is one such tool that may be of use to you for a speedy resolution to a case that does not justify a district court lawsuit, but that does justify an appearance in court.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney. All information contained in links are the property of the linked site.

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