No, it is not necessary to have a lawyer. Small claims court is considered a "people's court," and a lawyer is not required.
You may file a small claims case at our courthouse, Apopka, Ocoee and Winter Park locations. Visit our Locations page for complete details.
Small claims cases can also be filed by mail or through the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal by registered users.
The Clerk’s Office has a Self Help Center that is designed to provide legal assistance with certain case types to Orange County citizens who do not have a private attorney.
The Self Help Center staff can assist customers in the filing of small claims cases. Self Help Center services include attorney consultations, form completion assistance and notary and copy services.
To learn more about the Clerk’s Self Help Center, including how to schedule low-cost attorney consultations, visit the Self Help Center section of our website.
A person or persons eighteen years or older, or any individual(s) doing business as a company may file a small claims case. A parent or guardian may file on behalf of a minor child.
Filing fees for small claims actions are set forth in the Florida Statutes and in Orange County ordinances. Fees vary in accordance with the dollar amount of your claim and the type of action.
The complete names, addresses, phone numbers and business name (if applicable) of both the plaintiff and defendant are required.
Copies of any contracts, notes, leases, receipts or other evidence you have in support of your claim must be furnished to each person you are suing as well as to the court.
After a small claims case is filed, each person or business you are suing must be served with a Summons/Notice to Appear in court on the date and time scheduled. This court date will be a mediation/pre-trial conference, and you should be prepared to present your case.
If the dispute cannot be settled at the mediation/pre-trial conference, a trial date will be scheduled. You must appear at the trial with all witnesses and documentation of your claim.
Yes, a trial by jury may be requested by the plaintiff in writing at the time the case is filed. If filing by mail, send letter to room 310 of the Orange County Courthouse.
The defendant may request a jury trial within five days after service of the Notice to Appear, or at the mediation/pre-trial conference.
If at any time in the proceedings a settlement is reached between the parties, the plaintiff must notify the Clerk's Office in writing of the settlement. If responding by mail, send letter to:
Orange County Clerk of Courts
425 N. Orange Ave.
Orlando, FL 32801
If a judgment is entered in your favor, you may choose to place a judgment lien against any individually owned real property of the defendant. You must obtain a certified copy of your judgment from the Clerk's Civil Division. You may then take the certified copy of the judgment to the Orange County Comptroller's Official Records department and have it recorded in the official records. You may record the judgment in other counties as well.