Unlimited civil case - A general civil case involves an amount of money of $25,000 or more.

Unlimited civil cases also include other types of disputes that do not involve money, like cases to resolve (or “quiet”) title to real property, cases asking for civil restraining orders, and requests to change your name or your child’s name. Basically, an unlimited civil case is any case that is not a limited civil case under the definition of California Code of Civil Procedure, Sections 85-86.1.

Representing Yourself in a Civil Case

If you are filing a limited civil case or an unlimited civil case, it is a very good idea to have a lawyer. But you are not legally required to have a lawyer (unless you are incorporated and your corporation is the one that is suing or being sued).

If you do not have a lawyer, you will have to act as your lawyer. And, to do so, you will have to know the laws and court procedures. The court cannot help you or give you a break just because you are not a lawyer and do not know the law. If you do not follow the many court rules and laws governing litigation, you could get fined by the court and you could even lose important rights or your entire case.

Read the California Court's section on representing yourself for more information you should know if you are going to represent yourself.

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While someone representing him or herself may be able to successfully handle certain parts of a case without a lawyer, other parts, like discovery, motions, and jury trial preparation, generally require the expertise of a trained lawyer. You can get the help of a limited-scope lawyer, which means that the lawyer helps you as a coach or advisor, and you still represent yourself, or you can hire the lawyer to handle only certain parts of your case that are too complicated for you to do yourself. To find out more about limited-scope representation, and get help finding a limited-scope lawyer, read Limited-Scope Representation.

Talk to a lawyer for advice and help on how to defend yourself if you have been sued in a limited civil case. For help finding a lawyer, click here.