October 1, 2014
Who Must Appear in Court

In general, if you are suing someone or being sued, you must appear in Small Claims Court and represent yourself. You may not be represented by anyone else. However, in cases where a claim can be proved or disputed by evidence of a business record and there is no other issue, a regular employee, who is qualified to testify about the business record may appear for the Plaintiff or Defendant. There is another exception. If you are suing the owner of real property in California and the owner lives out of state, the owner can be represented in court by one other person, provided they are not an attorney, or can submit written declarations instead of appearing in person. Also a member of the armed forces, on active duty and assigned outside the state after his or her claim arose, need not appear if the assignment is for more than six months.

If a business is a sole proprietorship, the owner must appear in court. If a business is a partnership, one of the partners must appear.

If the business is a corporation, the person appearing in court cannot be employed, appointed or elected just to represent the corporation in court. He or she must have other duties as well. If a business is a corporation, an employee, officer or director must appear in court.

More on How to . . . »

© 2014 Superior Court of San Mateo County