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Circuit Court District Division - Small Claims

After reviewing the information on these pages, if you need further assistance please contact the District Court Service Center at:

1-877-641-0966 (toll free in N.H.)
603-271-6545 (out of state callers)
districtservice@courts.state.nh.us (e-mail)

Basic Facts

Definitions

Small Claims Checklist

Civil, Small Claims & Landlord Tenant Judgment Checklist

Sample Complaint

Collection Process

Basic Facts

The small claims process is governed by RSA Chapter 503. In addition, a person who is filing or defending against a small claim will want to be familiar with the Rules of the District Court. While there is a section within the District Court Rules that specifically deals with small claims, there are others which will be relevant to the small claims process.

Maximum amounts.

Effective January 1, 2010 a person or entity may sue any person or business whom it is alleged owes $7,500 or less or who has caused damage of $7,500 or less. Any claim in excess of $5,000 is subject to mandatory mediation. Please feel free to visit the mediation section of the Judicial Branch website. If the claim is over $1500, the Defendant may request a jury trial. If such a request is filed, the parties will be notified when the case is transferred to the county Superior Court for trial by jury. If the claim would require the court to decide ownership of real estate, it must be filed in the Superior Court and may not be filed as a small claim.

Try to settle your claim.

The parties should try to settle the claim. The Plaintiff may simply ask the person who owes the money to pay. Often a compromise is better in the long run.

Court location.

The claim shall be filed in the district court where either the Plaintiff or the Defendant resides. If the Defendant is not a resident of New Hampshire, the claim may be filed in the court of any town or district where the Defendant, in person or through an agent, transacts business; makes a contract with a resident of the town or district; commits a tortuous act; or owns, uses or possesses any real property. To find which court covers your particular town, please click on the "Court Locations" link to the left. If one of the parties in the case is an estate, trust, guardianship or conservatorship, the case may be filed in the Probate Court in the county where the estate, trust, guardianship or conservatorship is located.

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