San Diego Superior Court to Offer In-Person Assistance for Small Claims Litigants

Mar 04, 2024
Court Services Update

Effective March 12, the San Diego Superior Court’s Small Claims Legal Advisory (SCLA) will resume in-person assistance for small claims litigants to explain court procedures and help with properly completing court forms in a new clinic space at the Hall of Justice. 

Litigants must represent themselves in small claims court, which hears matters that concern up to $12,500 in damages. Attorneys are not permitted to represent a party in small claims court, though advice can be sought before filing a case. The Small Claims Legal Advisory is staffed by qualified San Diego Superior Court attorneys and paralegals. Their assistance is free to both plaintiffs and defendants in small claims cases.

In-person walk-in assistance is available Monday-Thursday between the hours of 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Appointments are available Monday-Thursday between 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. To request a 30-minute in-person appointment with an advisor, litigants must fill out an online intake form on the court’s website.

“We are pleased to be offering in-person assistance again after having to put those services on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was followed by renovation of the physical space where SCLA staff can meet with litigants,” said Michael Roddy, Court Executive Officer. “Our small claims assistance over the phone and by email has been incredibly successful over the past few years, and we will continue helping people in that manner. However, we recognize that many members of the public may now prefer a face-to-face meeting where they can potentially walk out with completed paperwork ready to drop off in the business office next door.” 

In addition to the new in-person assistance, the Small Claims Legal Advisor offers help via online chat, by telephone and by email through the phone bank. The SCLA Hotline fields nearly 3,000 phone calls per month in both English and Spanish and can be reached at (858) 634-1777. Phone hours for the hotline are Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day by calling (858) 634-1900.

Help can be provided in other languages through the court’s translation services program at no charge to litigants.

For more information on filing a small claim case, please visit