Small Claims Appeal Process

The Tribunal's Small Claims Division utilizes an informal hearing process to resolve the majority of all appeals filed with the Tribunal. Parties typically represent themselves in such appeals. Please see our Glossary for definitions of commonly used terms.

Steps to a Small Claims Appeal:

1. Starting the Appeal

  • An appeal is started by the printing and mailing of a completed petition form or by e-filing a petition form.

2. A Docket Number is Assigned

  • The Tribunal will send a Notice of Docket Number to Petitioner and Respondent. This will put Respondent on notice to view the petition on docket search, complete, and mail or e-file an answer form.

3. Discovery

  • There is no discovery in the Small Claims Division except by leave of Tribunal only, as provided by TTR 261.
  • If you want to request the Tribunal's leave to conduct discovery, you must file a motion to conduct discovery.

4. Notice of Hearing

  • You will receive a Notice of Hearing at least 45 days before the hearing.
  • The notice will provide the date, time, and location of the hearing.

5. Hearing

  • Small Claims hearings are generally 30 minutes in length.
  • The presiding judge will be a Tribunal Member, Administrative Law Judge or Hearing Officer.
  • Parties are required to submit their documents to the Tribunal and the other party at least 21 days before the scheduled hearing date, as provided by TTR 287.
  • A party may request that a hearing be conducted "on the file" or telephonically.
  • A party may request that a hearing be adjourned.

6. Opinion and Judgment

  • If the presiding judge is a Tribunal member, the Opinion and Judgment will be a Final Opinion and Judgment. The parties may file a motion for reconsideration or appeal the Final Opinion and Judgment to the Michigan Court of Appeals, as provided by MCL 205.753 and the Michigan Rules of Court.
  • If the presiding judge is a Hearing Officer or Administrative Law Judge, the Opinion and Judgment will be a Proposed Opinion and Judgment. The parties may file exceptions to a Proposed Opinion and Judgment within 20 days of the entry of the Proposed Opinion and Judgment. A copy of those exceptions must be sent to the other party.  The other party will have 14 days to respond to the exceptions. If after 20 days no exceptions are filed a Tribunal Member will review the case and issue a Final Opinion and Judgment. If exceptions are timely and properly filed, after the time for a response a Tribunal Member will review the file and issue a Final Opinion and Judgment.