WV Magistrate Court – An Often Overlooked Option
If you cannot resolve a dispute with a business or person and the amount in controversy is less than $10,000, you may want to look at filing your case in Magistrate Court. Every county in West Virginia has at least 2 magistrates. Some larger counties have more. Magistrates are elected and do not have to be lawyers. When deciding whether to file your case in Magistrate Court, the following are some questions you may want to consider:
1. What kind of case do I have? – (i.e., is it criminal or civil)
2. Can I resolve my issue without going to court? – (i.e., can I talk with the person/business and come to an agreement before filing suit)
3. Can I handle my case without a lawyer? – (i.e., do I have questions about the process that I don’t understand, do I have questions about the amount in controversy, etc….)
Some of the types of cases that can be filed in Magistrate Court are landlord tenant disputes, contractual disputes, property damage disputes, etc…. However, remember the amount in controversy must be less than $10,000. Once you’ve considered some of these questions and decided to file suit in Magistrate Court, you should contact the magistrate office to obtain the necessary filing forms.
Finally, remember, if you are unsure as to whether you should file in magistrate court or just feel unsure about the process, it is probably a good idea to initially consult with an attorney. Often times they can be very helpful in determining if magistrate court is appropriate for your situation.
Today's blog: Are you familiar with magistrate courts in your area? Depending on the amount of certain disputes, you may be able to file your case in a local magistrate court. Read on the blog today for the stipulations for what may qualify as a magistrate-level case.