Rules of Civil Procedure Part V. Rules of Practice In Justice Courts
What are the Fees Charged by the Justice Court?
Can the Justice Court Help???
The Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits a Judge or court staff from “practicing law” (giving legal advice). The Code further prohibits the Justice of the Peace from engaging in communications concerning the merits of a pending judicial proceeding, or the merits of an impending claim or dispute. The following information is intended to be basic, procedural and informational, and is not offered as legal advice. The information is not exhaustive. There may be other remedies and procedures not listed below. You should seek professional, licensed, legal counsel for advice.
The Court and its staff are strictly prohibited from giving legal advice and can only assist on procedural questions.
What kind of civil cases can I file?
(a) Small Claims Case. A small claims case is a lawsuit brought for the recovery of money damages, civil penalties, personal property, or other relief allowed by law. The claim can be for no more than $10,000, excluding statutory interest and court costs but including attorney fees, if any. Small claims cases are governed by Rules 500-507 of Part V of the Rules of Civil Procedure.
(b) Debt Claim Case. A debt claim case is a lawsuit brought to recover a debt by an assignee of a claim, a debt collector or collection agency, a financial institution, or a person or entity primarily engaged in the business of lending money at interest. The claim can be for no more than $10,000, excluding statutory interest and court costs but including attorney fees, if any. Debt claim cases injustice court are governed by Rules 500-507 and 508 of Part V of the Rules of Civil Procedure. To the extent of any conflict between Rule 508 and the rest of Part V, Rule 508 applies.
(c) Repair and Remedy Case. A repair and remedy case is a lawsuit filed by a residential tenant under Chapter 92, Subchapter B of the Texas Property Code to enforce the landlord's duty to repair or remedy a condition materially affecting the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant. The relief sought can be for no more than $10,000, excluding statutory interest and court costs but including attorney fees, if any. Repair and remedy cases are governed by Rules 500-507 and 509 of Part V of the Rules of Civil Procedure. To the extent of any conflict between Rule 509 and the rest of Part V, Rule 509 applies.
(d) Eviction Case. An eviction case is a lawsuit brought to recover possession of real property under Chapter 24 of the Texas Property Code, often by a landlord against a tenant. A claim for rent may be joined with an eviction case if the amount of rent due and unpaid is not more than $10,000, excluding statutory interest and court costs but including attorney fees, if any. Eviction cases are governed by Rules 500-507 and 510 of Part V of the Rules of Civil Procedure. To the extent of any conflict between Rule 510 and the rest of Part V, Rule 510 applies.
Do I need a lawyer?
In most circumstances legal representation is not required to appear in Justice or Small Claims Court. In many cases legal representation is desirable to safeguard your rights and interests. In certain, more complex issues, legal representation is advisable.
What about criminal cases?
Justice Courts have jurisdiction of:
How are criminal cases filed?
Most frequently, cases are filed by law enforcement agencies, such as the Sheriff, the police department, the Department of Public Safety, Parks & Wildlife, and others.
Attorney representation Again, it is not required that you be represented by legal counsel, but the State of Texas will be represented by the office of the Wise County Attorney, and you are certainly free to hire a lawyer to represent you in Court. But if you cannot afford an attorney, no lawyer will be appointed for you, because the offenses within the Justice Court’s jurisdiction are punishable by fine only, (and not by imprisonment).
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR EXTENSIONS AND PAYMENT PLANS