How did we answer that? Can I have a lawyer in Small Claims Court
I had someone come in a few days ago asking about suing someone in Small Claims Court and wanted to know if they could have a lawyer with them. They also wanted to know what was special about Small Claims Court.
Small Claims is a part of civil trial court where the amount claimed is $10,000 or less. Additionally, lawyers are not allowed, on either side, to participate in small claims hearings without the judge’s permission. People can talk to a lawyer at any time to help with the claim and to prepare for the hearing.
After providing this information, my patron wanted to know more about the Small Claims process and how to represent themselves. As they were limited on time, I only got to show them a couple of resources.
First, I showed them a book by Nolo Press called How to Represent Yourself in Court. Nolo Press is a legal publisher that provides information on a legal topic written for non-legal professionals. They are as close to plain English that legal subject books can get. While Nolo titles are not Oregon specific, they do a great job of providing a foundation on a topic so if someone has to read more legal texts they have already had an introduction to the language and process.
Next, I showed them a book by Janay Haas called Understanding Small Claims Court in Oregon. This book, while a few years old, really walks though the Small Claims process in Oregon.
I also let them know that on the court’s website there were some forms as well as instruction packets for the Small Claims process.
Had we had more time I might have been able to provide additional information, but they were in a hurry. I did let them know that we could provide further information if they wanted it another day.