How to File a Small Claim in Court
Most people decide not to sue a debtor when the amount involved seems relatively small because of the known hassles and expenses of filing cases in court. With litigation expenses and time wasted in court, forgetting a debt seemed to be a practical solution instead, until recently, when the Supreme Court issued the Small Claims Rule.
What is the Small Claims Rule?
This is an inexpensive and simple procedure for going after money claims that are not more than P 100,000.00 (one hundred thousand Philippine pesos). The proceedings are quick and informal and all you have to do is obtain a blank form for Plaintiffs (the one suing), fill it up completely and attach the required documents to prove your claim. Click here for a copy of the Plaintiff’s form in PDF format. You can print this form and use it for filing.
Preparation of documents
Preparation is important for you to succeed in getting a favorable outcome for your case will only be decided on the basis of the documents that you attach to your form. Thus, before submitting your form, make sure that you have the following:
- Documents proving your claim such as promissory notes, contracts, receipts, Affidavits of witnesses, checks or pictures
- Latest demand letter and proof of delivery and proof of receipt (usually a signed acknowledgment if personally delivered or a registry return card if sent by registered mail)
- Certification to file action from the barangay (if applicable)
- Special Power of Attorney in case Plaintiff cannot attend
- In case of a corporation, a Secretary’s Certificate or Board Resolution authorizing you to file the case
Other steps include:
- Making photocopies of the filing form and supporting attachments (at least 5)
- Having the form including verification notarized by the Clerk of Court in the Office of the Clerk of Court of the place where you are filing your claim.
- Paying the filing fee.
- Getting the date of your scheduled hearing.
- Going to the court to which your case is assigned on the date of the hearing
Note that you are not allowed to be represented by a lawyer in the Small Claims proceedings but you may consult one BEFORE filing and attending your hearing. If you are representing a company or corporation in a hearing, you will also have to bring written authority to appear at the hearing, enter into an amicable settlement, to submit to alternative modes of dispute resolution and to enter into stipulations or admissions of facts and of documents.