What follows is a brief but informative summary of rules, procedures, and filings requirements for small claims court in Hawaii. 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: In most cases, $3,500. Counterclaims enjoy a generous limit of $20,000. Cases for the return of residential rental security deposits have no limit.

Where Suit May Be Brought: The case can be brought where the defendant resides. If defendant resides outside of the judicial circuit, the case should be brought where the breach or injury occurred.

Proper Manner of Service of Process upon Defendant: Service may be made by certified or registered mail or otherwise by sheriff, deputy, chief of police or court-appointed process server, or by either party personally.

How the Hearing Date Is Selected: The hearing date is set by the court.

Attorney Representation Rule: Attorneys are allowed, except in landlord-tenant deposit cases.

Special Provisions Regarding Transfer or Jurisdiction of Cases: The case may be transferred if either party demands a jury trial or if the claim or counterclaim exceeds $5,000. Otherwise, the case may be transferred only if plaintiff agrees.

Availability of Appeals: Appeals are not allowed, although the losing party may ask the court to alter or set aside the judgment within 10 days after filing of the judgment.

Special Rules and Notes: No Injunctive relief is available except in landlord-tenant cases, in which jurisdiction is limited to certain orders.
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