Are Appeals Allowed?
Appeals are allowed if the amount of the award exceeds $250.00.
A Justice of the Peace for Shelby County hears small claims court cases for Shelby County.
Types of Cases
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. This could be an action to get your security deposit back, or an action to recover money for damage done to your vehicle after a car accident. However, small claims court cannot handle assignments of claims (where one person transfers their interest in an action to another), a divorce proceedings, and cases filed by collection agencies or agents.
Small Claims Court Venue
You should file your action in the County and specific Precinct where the defendants reside or where the defendant has contracted to perform. (Government Code Section 28.011).
Shelby County Court Clerk
The clerk is often the first person small claims court litigants interact with in their case. The clerk is knowledgeable at all of the procedures and will be able to inform you of any specific local procedures for Shelby County. We recommend calling the clerk’s office to ensure the courthouse is open. While the clerk can help you with procedural issues, the clerk is not able to give legal advice. They will direct you to an attorney if answering your question would require that.
What can I expect at trial?
The trial is relatively informal compared to a normal trial. There are no rules of evidence. Additionally, the judge is allowed to ask questions of the parties and witnesses, and generally takes a more proactive role in determining the facts of a case. A small claims court trial is much quicker, often lasting between 15-20 minutes. However, if a party wishes for a jury trial, it will likely last a few hours. Small Claims actions are heard in 5 courthouses throughout Shelby County.
Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
You cannot demand or ask for more than $10,000 in a small claims court case. (Government Code 28.093). Another restriction of small claims court is that a plaintiff can only seek monetary relief (an award of money). You cannot seek injunctive relief. For example, you could sue a dry cleaner for ruining your clothes and ask for money to replace the clothes, but you cannot ask the judge for an order for the dry cleaner to repair your clothes. You could only ask the court for an award of money.
Can I hire an attorney?
You are allowed to hire an attorney (Texas Government Code Section 28.003), however, most small claims court parties choose to represent themselves. The reasoning behind this is because the amount is $10,000 or less, hiring an attorney becomes cost prohibitive. You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed one. (Government Code 28.003).
Shelby County Court Locations
The precinct map for Shelby County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Center
This courthouse is located at:518 Nacogdoches St Center, TX 75935-3954
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 1 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (936)598-3735.
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Shelbyville
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 220 Shelbyville, TX 75973
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Joaquin
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 503 Joaquin, TX 75954
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 3 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (936)269-3527.
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Tenaha
This courthouse is located at:140 Ed Wall St Tenaha, TX 75974-0121
Precinct 5 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Timpson
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 285 Timpson, TX 75975-0285