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Small Claims Cases

About the Small Claims Court


The Small Claims Court in Texas is created under Chapter 28 of the Texas Government Code. It has concurrent jurisdiction with the Justice Court in actions by any person for the recovery of money in which the amount involved, exclusive of costs, does not exceed $20,000.00. Before September 1, 2020, the jurisdiction of the justice courts was limited to claims up to $10,000.00; and before September 1, 2007, the jurisdiction of the small claims court was limited to claims up to $5,000.00. Jurisdiction is the power of the court to entertain an action, consider the merits, and render a valid judgment.

Presiding Judge

Each Justice of the Peace sits as the judge of the Small Claims Court.

Persons Not Allowed to Bring Claims in Small Claims Court

In general, an assignee, a money lender, and a collection agent may not bring an action in the Small Claims Court.

An assignee of a claim or any other person seeking to bring an action on a claim which has been assigned is prohibited from seeking relief in the Small Claims Court.

A person who is primarily engaged in the business of lending money with interest may not file a claim in the Small Claims Court.

A collection agency or a collection agent is also prohibited from bringing an action in the Small Claims Court. See Section 28.003, Texas Government Code.


In the Small Claims Court, a person may represent himself or herself, and may, if he or she so chooses, be represented by an attorney. See Section 28.012, Texas Government Code.

A corporation does not have to be represented by an attorney in the Small Claims Court. See Section 28.003, Texas Government Code. However, a person appearing on behalf of a corporation in Small Claims Court should be prepared to show authority to act on behalf of the corporation.

Designation of Parties

In legal terms, the party bringing the action is called the "Plaintiff." The one against whom the action is brought is called the "Defendant."

More Information about Small Claims Cases

General Information

This information is furnished to you to provide basic information relative to the law governing procedures for small claims cases in the Harris County Justice Courts.

The Harris County Justices of the Peace and the Clerks of the Harris County Justice Courts are not allowed to give legal advice. You are urged to review the applicable laws and to consult an attorney of your choice for further information or answers to specific legal questions.

You have the right to a trial by a jury and to be represented by an attorney of your choice, or to represent yourself.

Disclaimer: The law is constantly changing and there may be times when the information on this web site will not be current. This information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. This information is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject and is not a substitute for advice from an attorney.