After the judgment in Small Claims Court, either side can appeal to get a new trial in District Court. To appeal, you must either tell the magistrate at the trial after the decision is made or file a written Notice of Appeal to District Court form with the clerk within 10 calendar days from the date of the judgment. Click on the following link for “Notice of Appeal to District Court” form: AOC-CVM-303.
Cost To appeal your case you must pay a fee of $150 to the clerk of court within 20 calendar days after the judgment. If you cannot afford to pay this fee, ask the clerk for the “Petition to Sue/Appeal as an Indigent” and file it with the clerk of court within 10 calendar days after the magistrate issues the judgment. Click the following link for “Petition to Sue/Appeal as Indigent” form: AOC-G-106. The clerk, magistrate, or judge will probably decide at the time you file the form whether you have to pay the fee. However, he or she may take up to 20 days after the judgment to decide this. If you don’t get a decision right away, you will have to keep checking with the clerk of court throughout this 20-day period to find out if you can appeal as an indigent. If you are not allowed to appeal as an indigent, you must pay the $150 fee before the 20-day period is up in order for your appeal to go forward in the courts.
Waiting for the Appeal to Be Heard If you appeal a judgment made against you in Small Claims Court, you do not have to pay that judgment until the District Court decided the case. If the judgment requires you to deliver property to the other side, however, you may have to turn the property over, or post bond in order to keep the property during the appeal. Instead of a bond, the clerk might ask you to put up cash or other security to keep the property. If you are a tenant and want to continue living in the residence while appealing the case, you must sign a statement agreeing to pay your rent to the court during the appeal process. Some of this rent may be due at the time you appeal.
District Court When a case is appealed by either party, a new trial date is set for District Court. It is handled as if the case has never been tried before. This means you will have to present your evidence and witnesses again. Either side may ask to have a jury to decide the facts, but this request must be made at the time the notice of appeal is filed. If neither side chooses to have a jury, the judge will decide the case. The procedure in District Court is more formal and takes more time. Legal papers that you may want to file are not available as forms from the clerk. Most people find they need a lawyer to take a case to district court. This is especially true if you are a tenant appealing an eviction.