ROADMAP: Starting a Small Claims Case in Vermont

Prepare for the Hearing

Review the people (witnesses) and things (exhibits) you will use to prove your side of the case. Contact your witnesses to make sure they are able and willing to attend and testify at your hearing.


If there is a witness you need who is not willing to testify, complete the Civil Subpoena form and ask the court clerk to sign it. Have a sheriff serve the subpoena. Follow the same steps for sheriff service as in Step 3.

Make three copies of every exhibit you plan to use in court — one for yourself, one for the defendant, and one for the judge.

Organize what you will say. Practice the questions you will ask your witnesses and how you will introduce your exhibits.

Practice answering questions that the defendant, their lawyer, or the judge might ask you.

On the day of your hearing, remember to:

  • arrive at court early
  • tell the court officer you are there and ask where to go, and
  • speak when the judge asks you to. Don't interrupt the judge or the defendant.

After the hearing, the judge will either decide right away or send you their decision in writing later.


Video: Overview of getting ready for a court hearing in Vermont and what to expect

Updated: Sep 07, 2022