Appealing A Small Claims Judgment
If you disagree with the decision reached by the judge after your small claims trial, you can file an appeal. The court’s decision will not be binding or enforceable until the appeal period has expired. Both the plaintiff and the defendant have five business days from the date the decision was filed (plus three calendar days if the decision was mailed) to object or appeal the decision.
Filing An Appeal
If you disagree with the decision made by the justice of the peace, you will need to file an appeal.
When you appeal, the entire case is reviewed by a district court judge. The judge will look at the evidence that was presented to the justice of the peace to decide whether some legal error was made. Depending on what the district court judge decides, the judge can set aside, confirm, or modify the small claims judgment, and could even order a new trial.
CAUTION! An appeal doesn’t allow you to re-do your hearing. You won’t be able to introduce any new evidence. All the new judge is going to look at is what you submitted to the justice of the peace. So at your small claims hearing make sure your exhibits are filed as part of the court’s record and that your written submissions are as thorough as possible.
To file an appeal you must pay a filing fee of $97 to the justice court where your case was filed. If the court has already issued an order waiving your filing fees, the order will waive the filing fee on appeal. If you cannot afford the filing fee, you can file an Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (sometimes called a "fee waiver application"), which is available, free of charge, at the Civil Law Self-Help Center. You can also download the form on your computer by clicking underneath the form's title below:
APPLICATION TO WAIVE FILING FEE
You must also post a cost bond of $250 at the time you file your appeal. The $250 cost bond cannot be waived with a fee waiver application.
If the justice of the peace entered a judgment for money against you, and if you want to prevent the other side from collecting that money during your appeal (called a “stay of execution”), you will also have to post the entire amount of the judgment with the justice court (in cash or by obtaining a bond), including costs and interest, unless the court orders something else.
In order to file an appeal, you will need to complete several forms and file them with the justice court. A simplified, combined version of these forms is available, free of charge, at the Self-Help Center, or you can download it on your computer by clicking one of the formats underneath the form’s title below:
Alternatively, you can prepare each of the following forms individually (instead of using the combined form above):
Click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing to learn about filling out legal forms and filing with the justice courts, or click to visit Justice Courts for links and contact information for your court.
TIP! Different justice courts may have different filing requirements, so be sure to familiarize yourself with your court's procedures. The Las Vegas Justice Court, for instance, requires all documents to be filed electronically, so anyone filing in that court needs an e-mail address to set up an electronic filing account. To learn more about electronic filing, visit the Las Vegas Justice Court website.
Once your small claims has been appealed to the district court, there is no further appeal available to you.