Administrative Rules of the Unified Court System & Uniform Rules of the Trial Courts
Uniform Rules for N.Y.S. Trial Courts
|PART 214. Uniform Civil Rules For The Justice Courts|
(a) Application. This Part shall be applicable to all actions and proceedings in the Town, Village and City Justice Courts of the State of New York, outside the City of New York.
(b) Waiver. For good cause shown, and in the interests of justice, the court in an action or proceeding may waive compliance with any of the rules in this Part, unless prohibited from doing so by statute or by a rule of the Chief Judge.
(c) Additional rules. Additional local court rules, not inconsistent with law or with these rules, shall comply with Part 9 of the Rules of the Chief Judge (22 NYCRR Part 9).
(d) Application of the Uniform Justice Court Act. The provisions of this Part shall be construed as consistent with the Uniform Justice Court Act (UJCA), and matters not covered by these provisions shall be governed by the UJCA.
(1) Chief Administrator of the Courts in this Part includes a designee of the Chief Administrator.
(2) Unless otherwise defined in this Part, or the context otherwise requires, all terms used in this Part shall have the same meaning as they have in the UJCA and the CPLR.
214.2 Place and hours of court.
(a) It is the policy that the public is best served by justice courts which function in facilities provided by the municipality, and it is also the policy that each justice of those courts participate equally in the duties of the court. When facilities are provided by the municipality, the sessions of the court shall be held therein.
(b) Each court shall establish the days and times when it shall sit in regular session. Such days and times shall be subject to modification by the Chief Administrator of the Courts. The court's schedule as so established shall be filed with the clerk of the municipality, shall be posted where other official notices are posted and shall be filed with the law enforcement agencies regularly appearing in the court. The clerk's office shall be open at hours established by each court, subject to the further order of the Chief Administrator.
(c) Return dates of process shall conform with the above schedule unless otherwise provided by law, rule or order.
(a) The summons shall state the name and location of the court in which the action is brought, the names of the parties and a return date to be obtained from the court, and shall comply with all provisions of the UJCA applicable to summonses.
(b) The following form is to be used in a case in which the action is for money only and a formal complaint is not served therewith:
YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED and required to appear and answer this endorsed summons in the Justice Court of the Village, Town or City of____, located at ____, County of ____, State of New York, on the ____ day of ____, 19____, at ____ o'clock in the ____ noon; upon your failure to appear and answer, judgment will be taken against you for the sum of $____ with interest thereon from the____ day of____, 19____, together with the costs of this action.
Dated: the____day of___________, 19____
(c) In an action where a formal complaint is annexed to the summons, the following form of summons shall be used:
To the above-named defendant:
YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED and required to appear and answer this complaint in the Justice Court of the Village, Town or City of _____, located at _____, County of_____, State of New York, on the_____ day of _____, 19_____ , at_____ o'clock in the_____ noon; upon your failure to appear and answer, judgment will be taken against you for the relief demanded in the complaint, together with the costs of this action.
Dated: the_____ day of _____, 19_____
(a) Except as required by statute, a formal pleading may be dispensed with in any case in which the party required to serve the pleading appears in person.
(b) All formal pleadings and verifications thereof shall be in conformity with CPLR article 30.
(c) An order directing the service and filing of a formal pleading, or pleadings, shall specify the time within which the same shall be served and filed.
(a) All enforcement officers shall keep accurate and detailed records, properly indexed, of all functions performed by them, pursuant to law, rule or order, in their capacity as law enforcement officers.
(b) In addition to the enforcement officers enumerated in UJCA 110, the municipal board may designate other persons to serve as enforcement officers in civil matters.
The court clerk and one of the deputy or assistant court clerks designated by the clerk are authorized and empowered to administer oaths, take acknowledgments, sign the process or mandate of the court and certify the records of the court.
(a) Any party who commences an action, proceeding or claim within the court's jurisdiction or against whom such an action, proceeding or claim is commenced, which, in his or her opinion, may be adjusted without resort to a trial, may apply to the court for the issuance, in the discretion of the court, of a notice of conciliation, or the court on its own motion may order such conciliation. However, such conciliation conference may be ordered only upon the prior written consent of the parties that, should the controversy not be resolved by conciliation, the justice who presides over the conciliation conference may preside over a subsequent trial of the action, proceeding or claim.
(b) If the court so orders, the clerk shall immediately fix a date for a conciliation conference and shall mail notice to all parties to the controversy. At least 10 days' notice shall be given, exclusive of the day of mailing. The notice shall designate the address of the court and the time and date where the hearing will be held.
(c) Conciliation conferences shall be informal, and the justice presiding shall endeavor to effect an amicable and equitable adjustment between the parties. The justice shall permit either party to be assisted by counsel, but no record of the proceeding shall be kept. At the conference, the justice shall not be bound by the rules regarding admissibility of evidence.
(d) The justice shall direct the clerk to make an entry in the docket hereinafter referred to of the terms of the settlement or that no settlement was effected. No judgment or order enforceable by law shall be rendered or made by the justice except upon the consent or written stipulation of the parties.
(e) A docket shall be kept wherein proper entries of all proceedings shall be made. Such docket may not be offered in evidence or referred to upon any subsequent trial of the controversy.
(a) A notice of appeal shall not be accepted for filing without proof of service upon all parties.
(b) All papers prepared by the appellant that are required to be included in the return on appeal as required by the applicable provisions of the CPLR, shall be furnished by the appellant to the clerk at the time of filing the notice of settlement provided in section 1704 of the UJCA.
(c) In the case of the death, disability or prolonged absence from the municipality of the justice before whom the action was tried, the return on appeal may be settled by any other justice of the court.
(a) Every town justice and village justice, including acting village justices, shall deposit, as soon as practicable, all monies received in his or her judicial capacity in a separate bank account in his or her name as such judicial officer, in a bank or trust company in this State, pending disposition as required by law. In no event shall any deposit be made later than 72 hours, exclusive of Sundays and holidays, from the day of receipt.
(b) Withdrawals from such accounts shall be only for purposes permitted by law.
(c) Every justice now having such a bank account or required by subdivision (a) of this section to open such a bank account shall, within 10 days after the effective date of this rule [Jan. 6, 1986], or within 10 days after the opening or transfer of such a bank account, notify the Chief Administrator of the Courts in writing of the name and address of the bank in which the account has been opened or transferred to, the title of the account, the account number and the date that said account was opened or transferred. If, for any reason, the justice, during his or her tenure, shall close or transfer said account to a different bank, within 10 days of such closing or transfer written notification, stating the reasons therefor, shall be given to the Chief Administrator.
(d) With the consent of all the justices of a town or village, a joint account in the names of all the justices may be opened for the deposit of bail monies only. Such an account shall in all other respects comply with the provisions of this section.
(e) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a justice who does not actually receive monies in a judicial capacity, providing he or she files with the Chief Administrator a written statement setting forth the fact that he or she does not receive monies in a judicial capacity and the reasons therefor.
(a) Each Town, Village and City Justice Court shall schedule at least one session every other week for the hearing of small claims and may allocate some portion of every session of court specifically for the hearing of such claims as defined in the UJCA. During the times designated for the hearing of small claims, the court shall sit as a small claims part. In those courts having more than one judge, each judge shall participate equally in the handling of small claims.
(b) A small claims action shall be commenced by a plaintiff or someone on his or her behalf paying the filing fee as provided in UJCA 1803, and by supplying to the clerk the following information:
(1) plaintiff's name and residence address;
(2) defendant's name and place of residence, or place of business or employment; and
(3) the nature and amount of the plaintiff's claim, giving dates and other relevant information.
(c) The justice or clerk shall reduce this information to a written statement, on a form provided therefor, and shall record it in his or her office. The statement shall be in nontechnical, concise and simple language, and shall be signed by the person who shall have supplied the information contained therein.
(d) The justice or clerk shall give to the person who signed the statement a memorandum of the time and place set for the hearing, which shall be not less than 22 nor more than 45 days from the date the action is recorded, and shall advise such person to produce at the hearing the supporting witnesses, account books, receipts or other documents required to establish the claim.
(e) Within five days after the action is recorded, the clerk shall send to the defendant by ordinary first class mail and by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to one or more of the addresses supplied as shall be deemed necessary, a signed notice bearing the seal of the court, which shall be in substantially the following form:
JUSTICE COURT OF THE VILLAGE, TOWN OR CITY OF _______________
COUNTY OF _______________
SMALL CLAIMS PART
Take Notice that _____ asks judgment in this Court against you for $_____, together with costs, upon the following claim:
You must appear and present your defense and any counterclaim you may desire to assert at the hearing at the time and place above set forth (a corporation must be represented by an attorney or any authorized officer, director or employee). IF YOU DO NOT APPEAR, JUDGMENT WILL BE ENTERED AGAINST YOU BY DEFAULT, EVEN THOUGH YOU MAY HAVE A VALID DEFENSE. If your defense or counterclaim, if any, is supported by witnesses, account books, receipts or other documents, you must produce them at the hearing. The Clerk, if requested, will issue subpoenas for witnesses, without fee thereof.
If you wish to present a counterclaim against the claimant, you must do so by filing with the Clerk of the Court a statement containing such counterclaim within five days of receiving this notice of claim. At the time of such filing you must pay the Clerk a filing fee of $3.00 plus the cost of postage to send your counterclaim by first class mail to the claimant. If you fail to file a counterclaim within this five-day period, you retain the right to file the counterclaim until the time of the hearing, but the claimant may request and obtain an adjournment of the hearing to a later date.
If you admit the claim, but desire time to pay, you must appear personally on the day set for the hearing and state to the Court your reasons for desiring time to pay.
Dated: _____ , 20_____
A Guide to Small Claims Court is available at the court listed above.
NOTE: If you desire a jury trial, you must, before the day upon which you have been notified to appear, file with the Clerk of the Court a written demand for a trial by jury. You must also pay to the clerk a jury fee of $10 and file an undertaking in the sum of $50, or deposit such sum in cash to secure the payment of any costs that may be awarded against you. You will also be required to make an affidavit specifying the issues of fact which you desire to have tried by a jury and stating that such trial is desired and demanded in good faith.
Under the law, the Court may award $25 additional costs to the plaintiff if a jury trial is demanded by you and a decision is rendered against you.
(f) The justice or clerk shall note, on the statement referred to in subdivision (b) of this section, the date on which the notice was mailed and the address, the date of delivery shown by the return receipt and the name of the addressee or agent signing the receipt.
(g) If service of notice cannot be effected upon the defendant within four months of the date when an action was first instituted, the action shall be dismissed without prejudice.
(h) Unless the court shall otherwise order, a defendant to whom notice was duly given who fails to appear at the hearing on the day and time fixed either in person or by attorney shall be held to be in default, except that no default shall be ordered if the defendant or his attorney appears within one hour after the time fixed.
(i) If at the hearing it shall appear that the defendant has a counterclaim in an amount within the jurisdiction of the part for the hearing of small claims, the justice may either proceed forthwith to hear the entire case or may adjourn the hearing for a period of not more than 20 days or as soon thereafter as practicable, at which adjourned time the hearing of the entire case shall be had. An adjournment shall be granted at the request of the claimant if the defendant did not file the counterclaim with the court within five days of receiving the notice of claim.
(j) An oath or affirmation shall be administered to all witnesses. The court shall conduct the hearing in such manner as it deems best suited to discover the facts and to determine the justice of the case. If the plaintiff, or an attorney in his or her behalf, does not appear at the time set for hearing, the court may dismiss the claim for want of prosecution or enter a finding on the merits for the defendant, or make such other disposition as it may deem proper.
(k) Where, after a claim is filed with the clerk, either party to the action desires to implead one or more additional defendants, the clerk shall, upon receipt of the proper fees, issue and mail a notice of claim to each additional defendant under the procedure set forth above.
(l) The undertaking to be filed by a defendant desiring a jury trial shall be in the form prescribed by the relevant provisions of article 25 of the CPLR.
(a) Each Town and Village Justice Court shall maintain:
(1) case files containing all papers filed, orders issued, any minutes or notes made by the court of proceedings or testimony, and a copy of any original documents or papers forwarded to another court or agency;
(2) an index of cases with a unique number assigned to each case when filed; and
(3) a cashbook which shall chronologically itemize all receipts and disbursements.
(b) In each civil case the following case history shall also be maintained:
(1) the names and addresses of all parties;
(2) the name of the justice presiding;
(3) the name and location of the court;
(4) the dates pleadings were served;
(5) the names and addresses of attorneys;
(6) the date of first appearance, all adjournments and by whom requested;
(7) whether a jury was demanded and by whom;
(8) the names and addresses of all witnesses sworn;
(9) all fees collected by, and other funds deposited with, the court;
(10) the disposition of the case, including the amount of a money judgment and any costs; and
(11) whether any transcripts of judgment were issued.
(c) A model recordkeeping system which complies with the requirements of this Part will be prepared and distributed by the Office of Court Administration.