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This guide is intended to provide assistance for those using the Small Claims Courts located in the five boroughs of New York City. These courts are a division of the New York City Civil Court. The information contained here is current as of October 2019. For a more comprehensive presentation of the Small Claims Court process, visit The New York City Civil Court website.

What is Small Claims Court? Small Claims Court, often referred to as the "People's Court," is a place to get relatively quick and simple resolution of a civil (not criminal) dispute without the need for a lawyer. The claim cannot exceed $5000, and must be for money only (not, for example, to force someone to fix a damaged item, or for pain and suffering).

These are typical types of small claims court cases:

  • breach of a contract, lease, warranty or agreement
  • returned check, bounced or stopped
  • loss of luggage, property, time from work, or use of property
  • damage to an automobile, other personal property, real property or person
  • failure to provide proper repairs, services, merchandise or goods paid for
  • failure to pay for services rendered, salary, rent, for goods sold and delivered, insurance claim or commissions
  • failure to return security, property, a deposit or money loaned


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