In Alabama, civil cases filed seeking money damages are assigned to a designated court depending on the amount of money that is at stake.
Cases can be assigned to one of three courts:
Circuit Court: The Circuit Court handles all cases where the amount claimed is greater than $20,000.
District Court: The District Court is assigned all cases where the amount claimed is less than $20,000.
Small Claims Court: Small Claims Court is a division of the District Court that handles cases where the amount claimed is less than $6,000.
What makes a small claims case different?
The small claims court is designed to allow people to present their case within a shorter timeframe and the parties involved are not required to be represented by a lawyer.
The procedures are simple, informal, and inexpensive. It is specifically designed so individuals and businesses can resolve disputes in an efficient manner.
Small claims cases are resolved by a judge and not a jury.
The documents and evidence submitted in this court are not subject to strict admission rules. This allows individuals to effectively present a case without needing an attorney’s help or legal advice.
In the District and Circuit Court, businesses are required to hire an attorney to represent their interest.
In Small Claims Court businesses are allowed to present cases without the assistance of an attorney.
If either party disagrees with the decision in a Small Claims Court case, they can file an appeal and the case will automatically be heard by the Circuit Court. Appeals must be filed within 14 days of the decision.
Forms for filing a complaint in Small Claims Court and more information about the process may be found here.
Read more information on Small Claims Courts here.