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Rule 12. Hearing

Arizona Revised Statutes AnnotatedRules of Small Claims ProcedureEffective: January 1, 2020

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated
Rules of Small Claims Procedure
Effective: January 1, 2020
17B A.R.S. Rules of Small Claims Procedure, Rule 12
Rule 12. Hearing
(a) Hearing Officer. A party may request that a justice of the peace, rather than a hearing officer, decide the lawsuit. A party must make this request in writing at least 15 days before the hearing date.
(b) Rescheduling a Hearing. As soon as possible, but at least 15 days before the hearing date, a party may file a request in writing to reschedule the hearing and deliver a copy to the other party. The request must include a good reason for rescheduling and, if possible, provide supporting documentation. The court may deny the request if a party does not provide a good reason for rescheduling, does not provide documentation for the request, or if the party has made previous requests to reschedule the hearing. The court will consider emergency requests (a request received less than 15 days before the hearing) only if the request also shows a good reason for not filing it earlier.
(c) Failure to Appear for the Hearing.
(1) Both Parties Fail to Appear. If both parties fail to appear at the hearing, the court will dismiss the complaint and any counterclaims without prejudice, meaning the claims may be refiled if all other legal requirements have been met.
(2) Defendant Fails to Appear. If the plaintiff appears and has properly served the defendant, but the defendant does not appear, the court will consider the plaintiff's evidence and, if substantiated by the evidence, the court may award judgment for the plaintiff. However, if the defendant is on active military duty and (1) fails to appear at the hearing, and (2) has not made an appearance in the case, the court cannot award judgment for the plaintiff at that time and must transfer the case to the justice court civil division for further proceedings.
(3) Plaintiff Fails to Appear. If the plaintiff fails to appear, but the defendant appears, the court may dismiss the lawsuit with or without prejudice, or it may award judgment for the defendant.
(d) Request to Appear by Telephone. If needed, the court may permit a party to appear by telephone at a hearing. The party must file a request to appear by telephone in writing at least 15 days before the hearing date. The request must contain that party's telephone number and the party must attach any documents, photographs, or other evidence the party wants to submit at the hearing. If the request is granted, the court will provide a phone number the party must call to appear telephonically at the hearing.
(e) Evidence at the Hearing. The justice of the peace or hearing officer will consider testimony from the parties and witnesses, and documents, and will decide the claims and any counterclaims. The justice of the peace or hearing officer may ask questions and permit the parties to ask questions of each other and witnesses. Formal rules of evidence do not apply. Any non-privileged evidence tending to make a fact at issue more or less probable is admissible unless the justice of the peace or the hearing officer determines the evidence lacks reliability, or will cause unfair prejudice or confusion, or waste time.
(f) Continuance. If a party believes the date set for the hearing does not allow adequate time to prepare or properly exercise other rights under these rules, such as filing a counterclaim or requesting transfer to the civil division, the party may ask the court for a continuance. If the justice of the peace or hearing officer finds that the party's rights have been harmed by the amount of time to prepare or properly exercise other rights under these rules, a continuance will be granted.


Added Aug. 27, 2019, effective Jan. 1, 2020.
17B A. R. S. Rules Small Claims Proc., Rule 12, AZ ST SM CL Rule 12
State Court Rules are current with amendments received and effective through September 15, 2023. The Code of Judicial Administration is current with amendments received through September 15, 2023.
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