What follows is a brief but informative summary of rules, procedures, and filings requirements for small claims court in Arkansas. Keep in mind that rules and laws change. It’s always a good idea to confirm the rules with the court or with further research.

Maximum Jurisdictional Dollar Amount: The maximum dollar amount is $5,000.

Where Suit May Be Brought: Cases may be brought in the county in which a defendant currently resides or in the county where he or she was to perform an obligation. When the action is for injury to persons or to personal property, you can file a lawsuit in the county in which the injury occurred or in the county where the defendant currently resides. In all other cases, the case may be brought in the county in which the defendant resides.

Proper Manner of Service of Process upon Defendant: Complaints are usually served in one of three ways: by certified mail; by personal delivery of a summons by the sheriff; or in some counties, by a private process server. A summons is a Writ of Process directed to the sheriff or other proper officer requiring him to notify the person named that an action has been commenced against him and that he is required to answer the complaint in the action or have a judgment entered against him.

Attorney Representation Rule: Attorneys are not allowed in Small Claims courts, but are allowed in Justice of the Peace courts.

Special Provisions Regarding Transfer or Jurisdiction of Cases: In small claims, if party represented by an attorney or if defendant files compulsory counterclaim for more than $5000, the case shall be tried under regular civil procedure of Municipal Court. No transfer provision in Justice of Peace courts.

Availability of Appeals: By either side for new trial to Circuit Court within 30 days.

Special Rules and Notes: Collection agents and commercial lenders may not sue. Corporations limited to 12 claims a year. Right to sue may not be transferred. Defendant must file written answer within 20 days of service if he or she is in the state, within 30 days if outside the state.

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