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Conciliation Court

15 W Kellogg Blvd Room 170
Saint Paul MN 55102
(651) 266-8230
Fax: (651) 266-8236
map/directions

Filing
How do I file in Conciliation Court?
How much can I sue for in Conciliation Court (maximum limit)?
How do I determine where to file (in what jurisdiction)?
Can I file electronically?
Should I include supporting documents?
How do I file a Counterclaim?
Prior to
Your Hearing

What do I need to prepare for my hearing?
What do I do if I can't appear on the hearing date?
What do I do if I need more time to prepare or resolve my case?

Subpoenas 

How do I subpoena a witness to testify?
Where can I get a subpoena?
How do I subpoena documents?
How is the subpoena served?
Can I serve a subpoena myself?

At Your
Hearing

What should I bring to my hearing?
Can an attorney represent me at the hearing?
If my witness can't appear, will the court accept a written statement?
What happens if I don't appear for my hearing?

After
Your Hearing

When will I know the decision?
How do I collect a judgment?
How do I pay a judgment?
How does the judgment get satisfied?
What if the creditor won't sign the satisfaction?
What can I do if I missed my hearing?
How do I appeal a decision?
What happens upon appeal?

Other Questions 

Can I request a Jury Trial?
Can I file a claim for harassment?
Can I file a tax appeal?
Can I sue to get my things back (sue for property)?
Can I file a claim to get my pet back?
Can I file to get my engagement ring back?

How do I... 

Questions on a broader range of topics
Return to the Main FAQ page
Conciliation Fee Schedule


Filing

How do I file a claim in Conciliation Court?

Fill out a Statement of Claim and Summons and file it with the Court along with the required filing fees.   It is important to file with the correct court.  Refer to the question on this page, 'How do I determine where to file (in what jurisdiction)?'.

For more information, visit the File a claim in Conciliation Court page on this site or the Conciliation Court page of the Self-Help Center.

How much can I sue for in Conciliation Court (Maximum Limit)?

$15,000.00.  The claim form requires that you fill in an amount (which cannot exceed $15,000.00) and the reason for your claim, including dates that the debt was incurred.

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How do I determine where to file (in what jurisdiction)?

Generally, where you file depends on where the defendant (whether a person or business) resides and assets are located.  Jurisdiction issues can be complicated and court staff aren't allowed to give you legal advice.  If you have doubts, you may wish to consult an attorney.

For more information about jurisdiction, visit the "Where do you file a Conciliation Court Claim?" question on the State Self-Help Conciliation FAQ page.

Can I file electronically?

Yes. E-filing requires registration and setting up an account with the court.  If you are not represented by an attorney, e-filing can be difficult.  The paperless office is a stated goal of Minnesota Courts.  Look for improvements in the future.

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Should I include supporting documents?

No.  Supporting evidence should be brought to court.  Refer to the question, What do I need to prepare for my hearing? on this page.

How do I file a Counter-claim?

File a Conciliation Court Counterclaim at least 5 business days before the hearing.  The same restrictions on the amount and type of satisfication that apply to a Claim apply to a Counterclaim.

For more information, visit the page on this site titled, "Filing a Counterclaim Against the Plaintiff" or the Self-Help site topic, "What happens if the defendant files a counterclaim against you?".

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Prior to Your Hearing

What do I need to prepare for my hearing?

The hearing is less formal than most court hearings, but it still involves the presentation of testimony and evidence.  Arrange for any witnesses and documentation that you feel will help you make your case. 

For more information, visit the page on this site titled, "How Do I Prepare for My Conciliation Court Hearing."  There is also a video on the Self Help Center site called, "How to Handle a Conciliation Court Case."

What do I do if I can't appear on the hearing date?
What do I do if I need more time to prepare or resolve my case?

Send a letter to the Conciliation Court. The letter must be received by Conciliation Court five (5) working days before the hearing and must clearly state the reason why you cannot be at the hearing. Usually only one continuance is granted.

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Subpoenas

How do I subpoena a witness to testify?

Fill out a subpoena form, arrange for service, and be prepared to produce it in court if requested. Subpoenas can be complicated and court staff aren't allowed to give you legal advice; if you have doubts,  you may wish to consult an attorney.

For more information, visit the Subpoena a Witness page of this site or the Subpoenas page of the Self-Help Center.

Where can I get a subpoena?

Request a subpoena form at the location above and pay the subpoena fee.

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How do I subpoena documents?

Use the method described above in How do I subpoena a witness to testify?, and fill out the duces tecum section of the subpoena detailing what documents must be produced. You must notify all parties in the case prior to serving a duces tecum subpoena.

How is the subpoena served?
Can I serve a subpoena myself?

Subpoenas must be served personally by a disinterested third party. Any payment to this party is your responsibility.

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At Your Hearing

What should I bring to my hearing?

The hearing is less formal than most court hearings, but it still involves the presentation of testimony and evidence.  Arrange for any witnesses and documentation that you feel will help you make your case.

For more information, visit the page on this site titled, "How Do I Prepare for My Conciliation Court Hearing?".   There is also a video on the Self Help Center site called, "How to Handle a Conciliation Court Case."

Can an attorney represent me at the hearing?

An attorney may participate in a Conciliation Court hearing, but only to the extent allowed by the referee.

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If my witness can't appear, will the court accept a written statement?

No.

What happens if I don't appear for my hearing?

If you don't appear, the court may dismiss your claim or award a default judgment against you. This may happen even if you originally brought the claim.

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After Your Hearing

When will I know the decision?

You will receive a judgment notice by mail within 21 days of the Referee's decision.  The Referee may occasionally need time to perform legal research before making a decision.  This may take up to 90 days.

How do I collect a judgment?

The other party pays you and you provide a Satisfaction of Judgment in return.  Collection can be difficult if the other party will not pay.  The court will not collect for you or help locate the assets of the other party.

For more information about the collection process, refer to the page on this site titled, "Collecting a Judgment" or the How do you collect a Conciliation Court Judgment? question on the Conciliation FAQ page on the Self-Help Center.

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How do I pay a judgment?
How does the judgment get satisfied?

The debtor pays the creditor directly.  Once the judgment is paid in full, or is paid to the creditor's satisfaction, the next step is to notify the court that the judgment has been paid. To do this, the creditor completes a Satisfaction of Judgment form and signs it in front of a notary or court clerk. One of the parties then files that form with the court along with a filing fee.

For more information about the collection process, refer to the page on this site titled, "Collecting a Judgment" or the How do you collect a Conciliation Court Judgment? question on the Conciliation FAQ page on the Self-Help Center.

What if the creditor won't sign the satisfaction?

If the creditor will not provide a satisfaction after the judgment is paid in full, contact the court at the number above for instructions.

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What can I do if I missed my court appearance and there was a judgment against me?

You may file to reopen the case and pay a fee.  Your chances of success are better if you file before the judgment becomes final.  This date will appear on the judgment.  Judgment is final 23 days after notice is mailed.

For more information about the reopening process, refer to the FAQ question on the State Self-Help Center site titled, "What happens after the hearing? "

How do I appeal a decision?

File a form called a Demand for Removal, Affidavit of Good Faith, and Affidavit of Service with the Court before the judgment becomes final -within 23 days of the date the judgment was mailed.  The appealing party must pay filing fees.  Keep in mind that District Court is more formal than Conciliation Court and its proceedings are governed by  the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure.  You may wish to consult an attorney if you intend to appeal.

For more information visit the Appealing a Conciliation Court Decision page of this site or the How do you appeal a judgment in Conciliation Court FAQ on the Self-Help Center.

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What happens upon appeal?

A hearing is scheduled to see if the case can be resolved out of court.  If the case can't be resolved, the referee will go over rules of District Court procedure with you and a trial will be scheduled. 

For more information, visit the What happens on an appeal? question on the Self-Help Center Conciliation FAQ page.


Other Questions

Can I request a Jury Trial?

Yes, but you must pay an additional fee. Refer to the Civil Filing Fees page (Jury Trial Fee).

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Can I file a claim for harassment?

No, you must file your case in Harassment Court.

Can I file a tax appeal?

No, you must file your case in U.S. Tax Court

Can I sue to get my things back (sue for property)?
Can I file a claim to get my pet back?
Can I file to get my engagement ring back?

Yes. If someone is in possession of items you believe belong to you, you may file a conciliation court claim.  This is called a replevin.  The case must comply with the maximum limits and jurisdictional requirements outlined on this page.

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The Second Judicial District is pleased to offer a legal clinic to assist unrepresented parties prepare and file matters in Conciliation Court!  Volunteer attorneys and law students are available for brief consultation meetings every Tuesday afternoon from 1 to 4PM.  Please click here to learn more about the Housing and Conciliation Clinic.

Conciliation Court, sometimes called Small Claims Court, was established by Minnesota Statute 491A.01 to allow citizens to bring their legal claims to court without expensive costs or complicated legal procedures.

The limit for a claim in Conciliation Court is $15,000.00. If you wish to claim more than that you must file your claim in Civil Division of the Second Judicial District.

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