Courts - Frequently Asked Questions

Who uses the court and when?

Any individual or business may use small claims court, if the problem can be settled for $11,000 or less, and if the court has jurisdiction over the matter. Examples of cases which are appropriate for filing in the small claims court include:

•A tenant sues a landlord for not returning his/her rent deposit when the premises were left in the condition agreed upon in the original contract.
•A retail merchant sues a customer for failing to pay for a purchased and used item.
•A customer sues a dry cleaner for refusing to replace an expensive garment ruined as a result of poor procedures.
•One driver of an automobile sues another driver for damage done to his or her car not covered by automobile insurance.

All these cases represent problems that need to be resolved, but may not be significant enough to retain an attorney or to bear the expense of a full-fledged court case. The Small Claims Court offers a place for persons with such grievances to solve their own problems.

What are the statute of limitations for filing a small claims case?

The time limits, or statute of limitations for filing a small claims case vary depending on the type of case. Refer to this site for general rules concerning statutes of limitations.

How do I know my case is scheduled?

If you have submitted your affidavit and summons to a constable, sheriff or process server, they will file with the court what's called a "return of service". Once the court receives the "return of service", the clerk will schedule your case for the date written on the affidavit and summons. If the constable, sheriff, or process server mails you the "return of service", you will need to file it with the court, so your case can be scheduled.

If your case is scheduled, it will also appear on our court calendar for the Salt Lake City Justice Court. (Under Justice Court Calendars, click on Salt Lake City).  If your case is not found, it is possible your affidavit and summons did not get served.  You will need to contact the constable, sheriff or process server that is serving your papers and follow up.

If you have served your affidavit and summons by mail (certified restricted delivery or registered mail or commercial courier service), file with the court the "Certificate of Service for Affidavit and Summons" form.  Attach the following to the "Certificate of Service for Affidavit and Summons": a copy of the affidavit and summons, domestic return receipt, and receipt of payment, before filing with the court.  Once you have filed the Certificate of Service for Affidavit and Summons and attachments with the court, the court will schedule your case.  

It is your responsibility to make sure that your affidavit and summons is served and that the "return of service" or "certificate of service" is filed with the court, so your case can be scheduled.

Do I need an attorney?

No. Small Claims is informal. You do not need to retain a lawyer to sue in Small Claims Court. However, if you feel that you need an attorney, you may do so.

How much does it cost to sue?

The cost of filing a suit in Small Claims Court consists of a filing fee ($60.00 for claims under $2,000 / $100.00 for claims between $2,000 and $7,500 / $185.00 for claims between $7500.00 and $11,000.00) and cost of service if served by a constable or sheriff ($20.00 service fee plus $2.50 a mile). Other fees will apply once judgment is rendered, depending upon how you want to collect. Please refer to our filing fees page. 

How much can I recover in damages?

You can sue for up to $11,000.

What is the interest rate for damages?

The interest rate is the same as the rate for civil suits.  The rate varies by year.  Click here for interest rates.

How do I get a copy of a judgment?

All parties will receive a copy of the judgment following the close of the case at court. If you have lost your copy or would like to look up a judgment for someone other than yourself, you can come to our court Salt Lake City Justice Court located at 333 S. 200 E., Salt Lake City, Utah, where the case was filed. You can also obtain your copy, by mail, or call us at 801-535-6301.  The court will not have a copy of a judgment, if a judgment has expired.  The retention period for a judgment is 8 years,6 months at the court.