Small Claims - Appeal a Small Claim Judgment Print this Page
Phone: (415) 444-7040
Location: Civic Center, Hall of Justice, Room 113
Office Hours: 8:00am - 4:00pm

An appeal of a small claim judgment is a request to the Court to reverse the decision made in the Small Claims Court by having the case heard again, by a different judicial officer. If the party requesting the appeal is entitled to a new hearing, the case will be transferred to the Small Claims Appeal Clerk to set a hearing date. Please note you may not appeal the judgment on your own claim. In certain circumstances, plaintiffs may request that the Court cancel, correct or vacate a judgment if there is a clerical error or if the case was decided on an erroneous legal basis, but these situations are rare.

An appeal of a small claim judgment must be filed within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of the judicial decision or, if the decision is mailed, within thirty (30) calendar days of the date the clerk mailed the Notice of Entry of Judgment. The date will appear on the notice. The filing fee must be paid to the Court when filing the Notice of Appeal. For the amount of the filing fee, please click here.

The appeal is heard in the Court and is treated as a new case. Parties must present all of the evidence and witnesses again.

Small Claims Appeal General Information.

An insurer of the defendant may appeal a judgment if the judgment exceeds $2,500 and the defendant's policy with the insurer covers the matter to which the judgment applies.

On appeal, the claim is heard for the original amount. For example, if the defendant was sued for $1,000 and the judgment against the defendant was for $500, on an appeal the judge has the right to award the full $1,000 to the plaintiff if the defendant loses.

While the case is being appealed, the defendant does not have to pay the small claim judgment.

If the defendant loses the appeal, the defendant must pay the plaintiff the amount of the judgment plus interest and costs. Examples of costs are any earnings the plaintiff can prove were lost or any money the plaintiff actually paid for transportation and lodging in connection with the appeal. The defendant may also have to pay the plaintiff's attorney's fees up to $150.

If the Court finds that the appeal was intended to harass or delay the plaintiff, or to encourage the plaintiff to abandon the claim, the Court may award the plaintiff attorney's fees of up to $1,000 and any actual lost earnings. The Court may, if it wishes, award the cost of lodging and transportation incurred in connection with the appeal up to $1,000, following a hearing on the matter.


Small Claims Court is a special type of civil proceeding which is commonly referred to as the "People's Court" because attorneys are not allowed to represent either side. The rules are relatively simple and the hearings are less formal. Parties in small claims actions can resolve their disputes relatively quickly and inexpensively. The person who files the claim is called the plaintiff and the person being sued is called the defendant.
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