Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
The plaintiff’s demand for money cannot exceed $10,000. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Small claims parties can only recover money. The court has no authority to issue an injunctive or equitable award. 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. This type of relief would be injunctive relief.
Small Claims Court Case Types
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. From a security deposit on a rental to a motor vehicle 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.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
The clerk is often the first person small claims court litigants interact with in their case. This will ensure the courthouse is open and someone is available to assist with the filing of your claim. Remember, the court clerk is trained to assist with procedural questions, but is not able to give legal advice. Travis County Small Claims Court cases are heard in 5 courthouses in Travis County.
Can I file my small claims case in Travis County?
In order to follow correct procedure, a small claims case needs to be filed in the proper county and precinct. In Texas, the action is filed in the County and Precinct where the defendants reside or where a contract was to be performed. (Government Code Section 28.011).
How are trials conducted?
Small claims court trials are very informal compared to a regular civil trial. In fact, the judge in small claims court is charged with developing facts of the case and may question or summon witnesses. Furthermore, the judge is allowed and often ask questions of witnesses and parties to help understand the facts of a case. Trials generally are pretty short (15-20 minutes). A jury trial will likely last longer, probably a few hours.
Do I need to hire an Attorney?
Small claims court litigants in Texas normally represent themselves without an attorney. This is because cases involving $10,000 or less usually do not justify the cost of an attorney. You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed one. (Government Code 28.003).
A Justice of the Peace for Travis County hears small claims court cases for Travis County.
Are Appeals Allowed?
A party can appeal a ruling if the amount of the judge’s award is in excess of $250.00.
Travis County Court Locations
The precinct map for Travis County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Austin
This courthouse is located at:4717 Heflin Ln, #107 Austin, TX 78721
This courthouse handles cases for Precinct 1 Place 1. The court’s website can be found here. The phone number for the court is (512)854-7700.
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Austin
This courthouse is located at:10409 Burnet Rd, Ste 180 Austin, TX 78758-4427
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Austin
This courthouse is located at:8656B W Hwy 71, Ste 100 Austin, TX 78735
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Austin
This courthouse is located at:4011 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Ste 1200 Austin, TX 78744
Precinct 5 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Austin
This courthouse is located at:1000 Guadalupe, Rms 112 & 117 Austin, TX 78701