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Limited Appeal. The plaintiff in a small claims action cannot appeal an adverse ruling. The defendant, however, has the right to appeal if done within 30 days. (Code Civ. Proc. § 116.710.)

Erroneous Ruling. Even though a losing plaintiff cannot appeal, a party can move to vacate a small claims judgment on the basis of clerical error or an incorrect or erroneous legal basis. (Code Civ. Proc. § 116.725.) See Form SC-108. In addition, Form SC-135 can be used to file a motion to vacate a judgment. You can find the forms on the California Courts website.

Appeal to Superior Court. If a small claims decision is appealed, the matter is heard in Superior Court and each side may be represented by an attorney. The case is heard de novo, i.e., as if it had not been heard before and as if no decision previously had been rendered. There is no right of discovery and the matter is heard without a jury. The decision by the Superior Court judge is final and binding. There is no right of further appeal.

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