News Court offers electronic filing of small claims

  • Executive Office of the Trial Court

The Massachusetts Trial Court recently introduced an online interview process, known as “Guide & File,” to allow anyone with a small claim to complete the process from any computer and electronically submit documentation to the court.

The new program went live in July, and in the first two months alone online small claims filings increased 96%. Last year, more than 98,000 small claims were filed in courts across the Commonwealth requiring documents be mailed or physically presented to courthouses. 

Guide & File simplifies the filing process for this straightforward legal matter and prompts applicants through a step-by-step series of guided questions. The responses produce a completed legal document that can be electronically submitted to the court for a small fee.

A small claims case is a special process to resolve civil cases in which the damages usually do not exceed $7000. Claims are initially heard by a clerk-magistrate and may be appealed to a judge.

Piloted in the six Court Service Centers, development of the online interview took more than a year of effort by Boston Municipal, District, and Housing Court staff.  Now, all small claims in Massachusetts can easily be filed electronically. 

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Executive Office of the Trial Court 

The Executive Office of the Trial Court facilitates communication and enables joint leadership of the Trial Court by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court and the Court Administrator.