Conciliation Court hearings are informal, but you must be prepared to present your case. Attorneys are only allowed to represent parties in Conciliation Court with permission of the court. All parties and witnesses who appear will testify under oath.
You should also bring to court all other evidence, such as receipts,
repair bills, estimates, and other items to help prove your claim. If
the defendant or some other person has documents relating to your claim
that they will not give to you, you can get a subpoena to require the
person to provide the documents.
Before you go to court, prepare a list of facts you wish to present.
Organize your presentation as clearly and completely as possible so you
will not forget important facts and details.
All parties must
appear. If you do not appear for the hearing, the court may dismiss
your claim or award a default judgment against you. This may happen even
if you originally brought the claim. If the defendant does not appear,
the court may award a default judgment in your favor.
The witnesses should be
present and ready to testify. If a witness is reluctant to appear, you
may get a subpoena to compel them to appear. You can get a subpoena
from the Court Administrator's Office. You will need 1 subpoena for
each witness you want to testify. There is a fee for each subpoena
requested. Written statements and affidavits of persons not present in
court have very little value.
After the Hearing
The court usually does not rule on your claim at the time of the hearing. The Court Administrator will mail notice of the court's decision to all parties. The judgment will not become effective until 20 days after mailing the notice. This 20 day period allows you to appeal or make a motion to vacate the judgment. The court may vacate the judgment and order a new hearing if a party that did not appear has a good reason for not appearing. Before it grants a new hearing, the court may require the party who did not appear to pay costs to the other party.