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Civil Overview

A civil case is one in which one party sues another to recover money, real property, personal property, to enforce a contract or an obligation, to collect damages for injury (tort), or to protect a civil right. 

The party who files is called the Plaintiff. The opposing parties are called the Defendants.

The Judicial Council's website has extensive information on different types of civil cases.

Limited Jurisdiction - Cases for $25,000 or less

Unlimited Jurisdiction - Cases for more than $25,000

Abuse and Harassment, including Domestic Abuse, Elder Abuse, and General Harassment

Eviction (Unlawful Detainer)

Gender Changes

Name Change

Complex Litigation

Click below for more information on Complex Litigation

Discovery Facilitation

Click below for more information on Program Rules and Forms

What you can do to prepare for your civil court hearing

  • Read all of your court papers. Make sure you understand what EACH form asks and what the other party has written.
  • The judicial officer will have many cases that day and your allowed time to speak to the judicial officer may be very limited. If you want to provide information or evidence, consider filing papers ahead of your hearing with the information or evidence you want the judge to consider.
  • Make an outline listing what you want and why. Be ready to quickly explain why the judge should approve EACH thing you are asking for, or why the judge should NOT approve something the other party is requesting and what you want the judge to order instead
  • Make organized, short notes to summarize your point of view.
  • Make a list of short responses to each point the other party made in their papers
  • Arrive early for your hearing.
  • If you get nervous in court, look at your notes: check your list for each request or response you want the judge to hear.
  • If you are asking for court orders, make sure that the judge makes an order on EACH request on your list. If a request you made is not mentioned as the judge makes orders, tell the judge.
  • Remember to speak when it is your turn, and not when another person is already speaking.

Publishing in the Newspaper

Certain filings require publication in the newspaper. Please see the link below for a list of "Adjudicated Newspapers of General Circulation". This is a list of the local newspapers that will satisfy the publication requirement.

Download Newspaper Listings

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