Ask to cancel (vacate) the judge's decision

If you did not go to your small claims court date, you can ask the court to cancel (vacate) what the judge decided that day and get a new court date. 

Before you start

Either side that missed the court date, the plaintiff or defendant, can ask for a new court date.

To get a new court date:

  • You must have a good reason for missing your court date, like a serious emergency, or that you were never given the court forms
  • Ask for a new court date within 30 days from when the judge's decision was mailed to you.
If the other side didn't serve you the Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court (form SC-100) the right way or never served you at all, then you have 180 days from when you found out or should have found out, about the judgment to file to ask to vacate the judge's decision.

This form and process are not for you if you went to court and lost the case. 

If you were sued in a small claims case and the judge decided you owe money, you can challenge that decision by filing an appeal. You must file an appeal within 30 days from when the judge's decision (the Notice of Entry of Judgment (form SC-130 or SC-200)) was handed or mailed to you.

How to ask to cancel the judge's decision

  • Fill out the Notice

    • Fill out a Notice of Motion to Vacate Judgment and Declaration (form SC-135)

    This form lets the court and other side know that you are asking the judge to cancel what they decided at the court hearing you missed.

  • Make copies

    Make 2 copies of the Notice.

  • File the Notice and pay the filing fee

    • Give the original and the 2 copies to the court clerk  
    • Pay a $20 filing fee 

    If you can't afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver.

    The clerk will give you a court date and mail a copy of the form with the court date to the other side.

  • Go to your new court date

    At your court date, the judge will decide if they will cancel the judgment. You will need to tell the judge why you didn't go to the court date.

    If the judge agrees to cancel the decision, you may have a new trial that day or on another day. 

Small claims

What's next?

If the judge decides to cancel the judgment, you may have a trial that same day or you may have it another day. To be ready, learn how to prepare for a small claims trial.

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