New Hampshire Judicial branch seal
Image: Find Your Court!
Circuit Court District Division - Small Claims

e-filing is now available for small claims cases that started electronically (not in paper) at ALL District Division locations. Please go to the e-filing small claims page here.


Basic Facts


Small Claims Checklist

Sample Complaint

Collection Process

Basic Definitions

Affidavit of Military Service - A form, provided by the Clerk's office and available online, in which a party verifies under oath that the defendant is not in active military service. Federal law provides protection from civil process for those on active military duty.

PLAINTIFF - The Plaintiff claims that the Defendant owes money. The Plaintiff is the person/entity that files the small claim.

DEFENDANT - The Defendant is the person/entity who is being sued.

Affidavit of Non-Compliance - The Plaintiff files this document which asks the Court to find the Defendant in contempt, if, after the Court orders the Defendant to pay a judgment, the Defendant fails to do so and further has the ability to do so.

Attachment - A document/process requiring Court action by which the Plaintiff places a lien upon real or personal property of the Defendant. There are two ways to obtain an attachment:

Petition to Attach with Notice - In this instance, the Plaintiff files the Petition to Attach with the court but does not request the court to take action on the Petition until the Defendant has been notified and has had a chance to respond.

Ex Parte Petition to Attach - In this case the Plaintiff files the Petition with the court but requests that the court take action before the Defendant is notified. It is the Plaintiff's burden to show the court why the Defendant should not first be notified of the request for the attachment. Ex parte relief is often called "extraordinary" relief because it is done without notice to the other party which is not favored.

Certificate of Judgment - A document issued by the court, generally signed by the Clerk, certifying the existence and amount of a judgment issued by the Court.

Claim - The original complaint filed by the Plaintiff.

Contempt - A finding that a party has not done what the Court has ordered that party to do and the Court has determined that nothing made it impossible for that party to comply.

Counterclaim - An action brought by the Defendant against the Plaintiff at the same time as the Plaintiff's filing, and involving the same situation.

Default - The Defendant, having been served with the small claim, fails to respond.

Judgment - A judgment is issued by the Court, either after the defendant defaults or after a hearing.

Judgment for Plaintiff - The Plaintiff has proven the case and is awarded money that the Defendant has to pay.

Judgment for Defendant - The Plaintiff has NOT proven its case and no money is awarded.

Periodic Payment - The Plaintiff can ask the Court to order the Defendant to make installment payments by filing a Motion for Periodic Payments.

RSA - The "Revised Statutes Annotated" which are the laws enacted by the N.H. Legislature. "RSA" will generally be followed by a number which refers to the chapter and section of a particular law.

Statute - A law enacted by the N.H. Legislature.


Small Claims Checklist>

Accessibility Options | FAQ | Site Map | Contact Us | N.H. Legislative Branch | N.H. Executive Branch | NH.Gov | Revised Statutes Online