Correcting a Court Error
How to correct errors made by the Court Clerk or the judge.
Correcting a Court Error
There are two kinds of errors you can have corrected – clerical errors and legal errors. Either party can ask the court to correct an error.
Mistakes made by the court clerk are clerical errors. They include:
- Misspelled names: If a name is misspelled, it’s difficult to collect on the judgment.
- Some Defendants are not named: You can’t collect from someone not named in the judgment.
- The wrong amount of money is listed in the judgment.
A legal error occurs if the Judge applies the wrong law or legal theory to your case. Legal errors are much harder to prove than clerical errors.
Legal errors include:
- The Judge mistakenly applies the wrong law in deciding your case, or
- Fails to award damages you are legally entitled to.
- If you ask the court to correct a legal error, you must include case law or legal codes that prove an error was made.
- If you simply disagree with the Judge’s ruling or his interpretation of the evidence, no legal error has occurred and the court will take no action. However, you may be able to Appeal the decision.
Take these steps to correct a clerical or legal error:
- Fill out the form Request to Correct or Cancel Judgment and Answer.
- File the form at the clerk’s office where your case was heard within 30 days after the clerk mails the judgment. There is no fee.
For clerical errors, explain what error you believe was made in the space provided on the form. Also state how it should be corrected.
For legal errors, include the case law or legal codes that prove an error was made. Explain why you believe the Judge mistakenly applied the law.
Filing this form does not extend the time period you have to file an Appeal.
After you file
The court may schedule a hearing, or they may make a decision without a formal hearing.
If a hearing is scheduled, all parties will be told of the court date by mail. At the hearing, you must explain to the Judge why you believe an error was made and how you want it corrected.
If a hearing is not scheduled, the court will decide the matter on its own and mail you a decision.
Court forms are available at California Courts – Forms. Select “Small Claims” from the pull down menu. Forms are also available at the Court Clerk’s office.
County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. Last change: April 25, 2018.