State of Minnesota
More about
Attorney General
Lori Swanson


Minnesota Attorney General's Office

1400 Bremer Tower
445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, MN 55101

(651) 296-3353
(800) 657-3787

M - F 8 am - 5 pm

TTY:(651) 297-7206
TTY:(800) 366-4812

Consumer

Conciliation Court

A User's Guide to Small Claims Court

What Is Conciliation Court?

Conciliation court is often called “people’s court” or “small claims court” because its basic purpose is to help people recover relatively small sums of money without having to hire a lawyer. Conciliation court allows you to bring your legal disputes to a court without the hassles of confusing legal procedures and high costs. Court rules are generally simple and informal, and the cost of filing in conciliation court is low.

This brochure is intended to give you general information about the conciliation court process. The information is not intended as legal advice but as a guide to the legal process. Questions related to your specific situation can best be answered by the county court administrator.

This publication contains some legal or technical words that may need further explanation. You may want to scan the Conciliation Court Definitions located on page 12 before reading ahead.

Conciliation Court: A User’s Guide to Small Claims Court is written and published by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. This brochure was originally published in August 1992. This revised version was published in November 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Attorney General’s Office answers questions about consumer issues. If you have a consumer question or complaint, contact the Office in writing or by phone:

Minnesota Attorney General's Office
1400 Bremer Tower
445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353
1-800-657-3787
TTY: (651) 297-7206
TTY: 1-800-366-4812

The Attorney General’s Office is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity.

INTRODUCTION

  • Who May Use Conciliation Court?
  • How Much Money Can You Recover?
  • Do You Need An Attorney?
  • Are There Any Drawbacks to Conciliation Court?
  • What Types Of Complaints Do Conciliation Courts Handle?

FILING A CLAIM

  • Where May Claims Be Filed?
  • How Do You File a Claim?
  • Completing the Complaint Form
  • Notification of the Trial Date
  • The Defendant May File a Counterclaim

THE HEARING

  • What If You Can't Appear on the Court Date? 
  • How Do You Prepare for the Hearing?
  • What Should You Bring to Court?
  • What Happens at the Hearing?
  • What If You Don't Appear for the Hearing?

THE JUDGMENT

  • When Will You Hear the Court's Decision?
  • What If You Lose?
  • How Do You Pay the Judgment?
  • How Do You Collect Your Money If You Win?

REMOVING THE CASE

  • Can You Remove Your Case
  • What Happens Upon A Removal?

APPENDIX

  • Conciliation Court Definitions
  • Conciliation Court Listings
  • Legal Forms

Additional Consumer Information

Conciliation Court (PDF) Get Adobe Reader

Next Page: Introduction and Filing a Claim