Official State of Iowa Website

What is “Small Claims”?

Small claims is a simple court process created for settling civil disputes involving small amounts of money. In small claims court, a judge (rather than a jury) will listen to your case and make a decision based on the law and facts. Small claims is covered by Iowa Code chapter 631.Icon of a question mark

You can bring a case in small claims court for a money judgment when you are claiming no more than $6,500 in damages. Actions for forcible entry and detainer (commonly called evictions) can also be brought in small claims court.

Having a lawyer in a small claims case may be helpful, but it not required. People frequently appear in small claims court without a lawyer.

If you do not fully understand your case or the court process, consider reaching out to an attorney. You may be able to get free legal help from an organization like Iowa Legal Aid or you can hire your own lawyer. More information on finding a lawyer is available here.

If you decide to file your case on your own, the Iowa Judicial Branch has information on representing yourself here.