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Small Claims Court

Civil Claims Involving Less Than $5,000

Small Claims involve one party or individual (the plaintiff) seeking damages from another party or individual (the defendant) with a value less than $5,000. If you have a claim for more than this amount, you may sue in the Civil Division or sue in the Small Claims Court and give up your right to the amount over $5,000. Informal rules are followed in the courtroom and the process moves quite quickly.

More information can be found at the Small Claims section of the California Self-Help website.


The Small Claims Department is in the Civil Division at the Main Courthouse located at:

The Superior Court of California, County of Madera
Civil Division
200 South "G" Street
Madera, CA 93637


Normal window hours are 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM. The busiest hours are from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM and from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM. A drop box will be available from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM for filings. Note that cash payments cannot be placed in the available drop box at any time.

Cases are set on the calendar at 9:00 AM on Fridays at the Main Courthouse in Department 44 or Department 45.


Current fees assessed through this department can be found on the Schedule of Fees.


Forms typically used in this department can be found on the California Courts Website. These include the:

Local Procedures

A Small Claims case usually follows these general procedures:

  1. The Plaintiff files a Small Claims form with the court, typically the Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Defendant form SC-100
  2. The defendant is served with the papers which give notice they are being sued and the date of the hearing. This service can be conducted by almost anyone over 18 years of age except the plaintiff (a sheriff, a process server, a friend or relative, etc), and can be done by mail through the court.
  3. The person who serves the claim upon the defendant must complete a Proof of Service Form, SC-104
  4. The hearing date is set
  5. The hearing is held and evidence is heard, after which the judge issues a ruling/decision.
  6. The decision of the judge can be appealed by either party and for various reasons

More information can be found at the Small Claims section of the California Self-Help website.