Through her TV show, Judge Judy made them popular to watch — those piquant disputes among tenants and landlords, friends and neighbors over minor civil claims such as damaged goods, looming evictions or unpaid services.
In Texas, the process for carrying out such cases, with an award limit of no more than $10,000, has undergone a drastic transformation that advocates are hailing as a much-needed improvement but which some critics say could put a strain on a overcrowded system and pressure some parties to hire a lawyer, hindering access to what has been called “the people’s court.”
The story you’re reading is premium content from the Austin American-Statesman. Subscribers get total access to all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive premium content. You can also buy a 24-hour digital pass or 7-day digital pass.
Read MyStatesman.com now — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24-hours
Read MyStatesman.com all week — 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7-days
Subscribe to the Statesman for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers
For Subscribers: Register your account for digital access.Access Digital
For Subscribers: Sign in here if you have already registered your account.Sign In
How to file a small claims case
1. Figure out the jurisdiction where your case must be filed, which could depend on where the defendant lives or where the incident occurred.
2. Call the justice of the peace court for information. For a local list, visit www.co.travis.tx.us/justices_of_peace/.
3. Fill out the appropriate forms and pay the fee, which varies by case.
To read the new guidelines visit www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/miscdocket/13/13904900.pdf