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How Do I Prepare for My Conciliation Court Hearing

How Do I Prepare For My Conciliation Court Hearing?

Conciliation Court hearings are informal, but you must be prepared to present your case.  Attorneys are only allowed to represent parties in Conciliation Court with permission of the Judge or Referee.   All parties and witnesses who appear will testify under oath.  The witnesses should be present and ready to testify. 

If a witness is reluctant to appear, you may get a subpoena to compel them to appear.  You can get a subpoena from the Conciliation Court Office, Room 170, Ramsey County Courthouse, 15 West Kellogg Boulevard, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102.  You will need one subpoena for each witness you want to testify. There is a fee of $18.00 for each subpoena requested. You must also pay witness fees and travel fees to the witness at the time the subpoena is served. The witness fee is $20.00 and the travel fee is calculated at 28 cents per mile from the home of the witness to the courthouse and back home (round trip travel). These fees are required by state statute MS 357.22. A party to the case, the plaintiff or defendant, cannot serve a subpoena. A non-interested party who is over the age 18 can serve a subpoena. Whoever serves the subpoena must fill out an affidavit of service, sign it before a notary public and return it to the court for filing.

Written statements and affidavits of persons not present in court have little value if you try to use them in court as evidence and in some cases may not be allowed as evidence at all.

You should also bring to court all other evidence, such as receipts, repair bills, estimates, photographs and other items to help prove your claim.  You can also get a subpoena for documents relating to your claim that the defendant or some other person has but will not give to you.

Before you go to court, prepare a list of facts you wish to present.  Organize your presentation as clearly and completely as possible so you will not forget important facts and details.  

 What happens if you do not appear for the hearing?

All parties must appear.  If you do not appear for the hear­ng, the court may dismiss your claim or award a default judg­ment against you. This may hap­pen even if you originally brought the claim.  If the defendant does not appear, the court may award a default judgment in your favor.