Dispute Resolution Services consists of two programs. The Small Claims Advisor Service can help answer basic questions about the small claims process in San Joaquin County and direct you to appropriate forms or other resources. To access free small claims advising services, call (209) 473-6463, email at email@example.com, or attend one of the free in-person clinics that are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. (for advice on collecting on a small claims judgment) or at 7:00 p.m. (for how to start a small claims case). The clinics are held at Humphreys College, Laurence Drivon School of Law, 6650 Inglewood Avenue, Stockton, CA 95207. Please call the small claims advisory line at (209) 473-6463 to reserve a spot for the clinic.
Also offered are free or low-cost community mediation services in the areas of small claims, unlawful detainer (eviction), and civil harassment. If you have a case already filed in one of these areas in the Stockton Courthouse, they have mediators available in court to assist with a possible settlement agreement before you present your case to the judge. In-court mediation is voluntary and free to the parties involved. Additionally, they offer out-of-court mediation, so if you have not already filed a case, you can call the Mediation Line at (209) 474-8794 to invite the other party to a mediation session in their office at 20 North Sutter Street, Suite 300 in Stockton. If the other party agrees to mediate out of court, they will schedule a three-hour session in their office, and the first hour of mediation will be free. A minimal $20 per hour fee is due from each side if the mediation exceeds one hour. Mediation is a voluntary, cooperative process, where a neutral third party (the mediator) assists the parties in communicating and collaborating to resolve the dispute on their own terms instead of having a judge decide the case for them. Please call the Mediation Line for more information about this process.