Small Claim Suits

Jurisdictional Limit  |  Who Can File a Small Claim?  |  When to File a Small Claim?
Statutes of Limitation |  Venue

Jurisdictional Limit

Small claim suits cannot exceed $3,500.

  • All cases are heard by either a judge or hearing officer, who then makes a decision.
  • The decision is final and binding on both parties. There is no right to a jury trial or an appeal in small claims cases.
  • Formal Rules of procedure do not apply. Procedures in small claims cases are intended to be simple enough for a person to file all the necessary forms and represent him/herself at an informal hearing.

There are two specific motions allowed by law in a small claims action. These are Motion for Change of Venue (Location) and Motion to Vacate a Judgment.

Who Can File a Small Claim?

The small claims court can be used by any individual, partnership, association or corporation for civil claims that do not exceed $3,500. Small claims cases are simplified, therefore, lawyers are not allowed.

When Can a Small Claim be Filed?

People should try to settle their disputes and disagreements out of court whenever possible. If an agreement cannot be reached, a small claims complaint may be filed. The types of claims that can be filed in the small claims division include:

  • money debts
  • personal injury
  • property damage
  • contracts

Statutes of Limitation

Time limits in civil actions accrue from the date the events that gave rise to the action occurred.* The time limits apply to both civil suits and small claims. Please note, this list is meant as a general guide. Not all of the cases listed below can be filed or heard in Justice Court. Click here to view the Arizona laws outlining statutes of limitation.

  • One year - Malicious prosecution; false imprisonment; libel or slander; breach of employment contract; wrongful termination; liability created by statute (ARS 12-541)
  • Two years - Personal injury; injury when death ensues; damage to property; conversion of property; product liability; forcible entry and eviction action (ARS 12-542)
  • Three years - Debt from oral contract; stated or open account; relief on ground of fraud or mistake (ARS 12-542)
  • Four years - Bond to convey realty; partnership account; account between merchants; judgment or instrument given or made without the state; bond of personal representative or guardian; specific performance of contract to convey realty (ARS 12-544, 545, 546)
  • Six years - Written contracts for debt (ARS 12-548)
  • Four years - Actions for which no limitation is otherwise prescribed (other than for recovery of real property) (ARS 12-550)

*Under some special circumstances, time limits can be extended or deferred. Please consult an attorney to determine if these circumstances apply to your case.

Venue

If the complaint has been filed in the wrong precinct, the defendant can file a Motion for Change of Venue. The form may be obtained from the court. The plaintiff may file an objection to the requested change. If the court orders a change of venue, the case shall be transferred to the proper precinct and the plaintiff shall pay all fees. The motion alleging improper venue must be made before filing the ANSWER. If the defendant fails to file a timely request for a change of venue, that right is waived.

Click here to go to the Location Section for help determining the correct precinct for your case.

Small Claim Fees

Small Claims Complaint$52.00
Answer to: Small Claims Complaint$42.00
Writ of Garnishment (does not include Constable service)$30.00
Writ of Garnishment (includes minimum mileage)$94.00
Writ of Execution (includes minimum mileage)$110.00
Judgment Debtors Exam Issue Fee$25.00
Filing any paper or performing any act for which a fee is not specifically prescribed$25.00
Certification of any documents$25.00
Copies of documents$0.50 per page

Click Here to see all Justice Court Fees.

Small Claim Forms

Click Here to see all Justice Court Forms.

Small Claims How-To Packets with Forms

Click Here to see all Justice Court How-To Packets.