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Can I go with my sister to small claims court and do the talking for her?

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  • Can I go with my sister to small claims court and do the talking for her?

    Can I go with my sister to small claims court in NY and do the talking for her?
    I am not a lawyer but I am a little better speaker than she is. She would like me to do it.

  • #2
    Small claims courts are informal and the rules are relaxed, though not completely gone. Legally, you cannot represent somebody in court if you are not a lawyer. "Speaking" for her may or may not cross the line so it would be up to the judge to allow it or not. However, one option is for her to call you as a witness. You can testify under oath as to your personal knowledge of her claim. Not what she "told" you about it but what you saw and heard while present.

    Frankly, you don't have to be much of a "speaker" to present your case in small claims court. The judge will sort it out by asking questions of both parties. Might be wise for your sister to rehearse her presentation.

    Meantime she, and you, should read the guide that is appropriate for your location:

    Tell us what the case is about and what evidence she plans to present and we'll do our best to make helpful comments.


    • #3
      Most judges will not let you be her advocate even in small claims.
      Witness yes, presenter of the case no. That is practicing law and is not legal even in small claims.

      Have her just read her case and write it out in advance if she needs to. One or two minutes. After that she just needs to be prepared to answer questions, you can help her with that and practice in advance.

      Courts expect people to be nervous especially if it's the first time, that's no big deal.


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