Legal FaceOff was created to give people a faster and simpler solution to small claims disputes than going through the court system. Here’s how it works:
For each dispute that you want to settle, you start a new case. You can have as many cases as you like. Each case has its own judge and can progress at a different rate.
Step 1: Start a Case
You start by filling out all the required information for a new case.
First, you’ll need to provide information about the defendant, the party you are trying to get compensation from. Let us know their name, email address, and any other contact information you have including street address and phone number. Please note that currently Legal FaceOff only supports cases where both the plaintiff and the defendant reside in the United States.
Second, tell us what kind of case this is, meaning under what field of law you think it falls. Don’t worry about not getting it right. We review each case to make sure we match your case to the best judge available. Currently Legal FaceOff supports breach of contract disputes including disputes regarding unpaid loans, property damage and disputes between neighbors, bodily injury, fraud, and commercial disputes between an individual and a business.
Third, you’ll need to write a short summary, no longer than one page, about why you are filing this claim. This important summary lets the defendant you name understand why you are filing this claim. In some cases the defendant may be unaware of the situation until you file this claim and will need the summary to remind him/her why you are filing a dispute. Legal FaceOff also uses this summary to match the best judge for you case. You can also submit evidence pertinent to your case such as receipts, estimates, photos and any other documentation.
Fourth, you’ll need to decide what award you are seeking. Currently Legal FaceOff supports only claims under $10,000.
Fifth, decide if the trial will be available for public viewing or kept private. If you prefer a private trial, you will need to pay a Trial Fee of $100.
Finally, you will need to agree to have Legal FaceOff be the final arbitrator in this dispute and that you will not pursue this claim via any other legal process, in either the court system or other arbitration or mediation options.
Note that aside from agreeing on a date and time for the trial, these are the only things you will need to do before participating in the trial itself.
Step 2: Setting up the Trial
First, an expert from Legal FaceOff reviews everything you submitted to make sure the case type you selected matches your claim description. If a change is necessary, we’ll let you know. At this point our expert will assign a judge for this case.
Then Legal FaceOff contacts the defendant with the contact information you provided. The defendant is sent the summary you submitted and the award sum you are seeking. Additionally, the defendant is given ten (10) different dates and times for the trial.
In response, the defendant will need to do the following:
First, he/she needs to register with Legal FaceOff if he/she is not already registered.
Second, the defendant also has the opportunity to submit his/her side of the story and submit a one-page summary. The judge will view both summaries before the trial. The defendant can also submit her/her own evidence and add it to the case file.
Third, like the plaintiff, he/she will need to agree that Legal FaceOff be the final arbitrator in this dispute and that they will not pursue this claim via any other legal process, in either the court system or other arbitration or mediation options.
Finally, he/she will need to select two (2) possible trial dates out of the ten provided by Legal FaceOff.
After the defendant provides two possible times for the trial, you, the plaintiff, will need to select one.
Step 3: The trial
At the time set and agreed to by both parties, both of you and the judge log into your Legal FaceOff accounts and participate in the trial by joining a three-way video conference.
During the trial the judge will ask both sides to tell their side of the story and to present evidence, if necessary. The judge can control the conversation by allotting a fixed time for each side to talk and muting one party so that the other party can speak uninterrupted. Both sides have time to present their case, introduce evidence and respond to the judge’s questions and to the other party’s allegations.
The judge will hear both sides, ask questions, look at evidence and reach a decision. He/she will then reach a judgment and decide on the award, if applicable. He/she will write their ruling in the “decision” box. You, as the plaintiff, will then mark your agreement and acceptance of the judgment. Then, the defendant will mark his/her agreement. Finally the judge will “seal” the decision box signifying the end of the trial. Both parties are then bound by the agreement they signed in the beginning of the case to accept the judgment.
For the Defendant:
As the defendant, when you get an email from Legal FaceOff you need to do four things:
First, register with Legal FaceOff or sign in.
Second, agree to accept the judge’s ruling and not to pursue this matter in any other way.
Third, write your response to the plaintiff’s claim and add any relevant evidence.
Finally, attend the video-conference trial.