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Advisory Service

The Small Claims Advisor

The Small Claims Advisor provides resources and answers to specific questions. Please view the information on this website and other resource links which may answer all of your questions.

What Can the Small Claims Advisor Do For Me?

The Advisor can answer your questions about Small Claims and:

  1. Explain the small claims rules and procedures
  2. Explain how to complete small claims forms
  3. Explain how to prepare for court
  4. Explain how to collect your money if you have won
  5. Explain what you can do if you cannot afford to pay
  6. Refer you to an attorney or other agencies who may be able to help you.

PLEASE NOTE: The Advisor cannot act as your attorney and their services are not intended to replace those of your own attorney. Also, the Advisor will not be able to tell you whether you "have a case", whether you will win or what your chances are of winning. They can, however, assist you in preparing your best case. The Advisor's main purpose is to explain how to prepare for and correctly use the Small Claims Court, how to complete the forms and to inform you about the Small Claims and general California law and common consumer problems.

Lawyer Referral

Stanislaus County Bar Association's Lawyer's Reference Service at (209) 571-5727 (there is a $60 fee for a 30 minute consultation).

If you are a Stanislaus County resident age 60 or older (or married to such a person) or if have a low income, the California Rural Legal Assistance attorneys may be able to help with certain problems other than Small Claims. To find out whether you qualify for their free services and whether it is the type of case they will handle, you need to call them at (209) 577-3811.

For Additional Assistance

An information booklet called "The Do's and Don'ts of USING THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT" is published in English by the California Department of Consumer Affairs. It provides answers to frequently asked questions about Small Claims Court. The booklet is available to read at the following places: The reference desk of the County library at 1500 I Street and the Small Claims Court counter at 801 10th Street, City Towers Courthouse, 4th Floor in Modesto, CA (please note change of window hours for Small Claims matters above).

Other books available at the public library include:
  • How to Win in Small Claims Court in California
  • Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court in California
Books available at the law library include:
  • Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court in California
  • Small Claims Court and Consumer Law
  • Small Claims Procedure Manual
  • How to Collect When You Win a Lawsuit

If you need landlord-tenant information, visit: Contact Us - California Department of Consumer Affairs

The Judicial Council sponsors a Self-Help Small Claims website with a variety of information on Small Claims law and procedure and specific information about Small Claims Court and advisory services within each of the 58 counties. The address is:

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