Conciliation Court Appeals Clinic
Volunteer Lawyers Network (also known as “VLN”) has a walk-in legal clinic where volunteer lawyers provide free legal advice to individuals who been involved in Conciliation Court lawsuits that they would like to appeal to District Court or have already appealed to District Court. The Conciliation Court Appeals Clinic assists both plaintiffs and defendants. The clinic assists individual people, not businesses. The Conciliation Court Appeals Clinic only assists with cases that have been filed in Hennepin County.
There are no income restrictions for individuals to receive free legal advice. If you would like to be screened to see if VLN can match you with a free lawyer to represent you for the duration of the appeal proceeding, VLN staff can screen you for financial eligibility at the clinic. If your household income is at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines and you have limited assets, VLN may be able to attempt to match you with a volunteer lawyer to represent you in the appeal. VLN staff will also screen your case for issue eligibility. Unfortunately, VLN cannot provide representation for all types of cases.
The clinic assists clients on a first-come, first-served basis. Sometimes the volunteer attorneys may have a conflict of interest and may not be able to see or assist you. There is no guarantee that the free lawyer will be able to see or assist you, and there is no guarantee that VLN will be able to match you with a free attorney. VLN reserves the right to refuse service for any reason.
Tips for Preparing to Meet with a Volunteer Lawyer
Please be sure to bring all of the paperwork that you have related to the lawsuit. Bring all of the papers that you have filed with the court and all of the papers that the other party has filed with the court. If you have any photographs, videos, letters, or other written documentation related to the dispute, bring that with you too.
For example, if you want help suing your landlord, in addition to all of the court papers, bring a copy of your written lease agreement, bring a copy of any letter that the landlord sent to you or that you sent the landlord, bring any photos you may have taken of the apartment showing you cleaned it when you moved out, etc.
Also, for example, if you want to sue a former employer who didn’t pay you, in addition to all of the court papers, bring a copy of your last pay stub from when you actually got paid, make a list of all of the hours that you worked and didn’t get paid, bring a calculation of how much you are owed, bring copies of any letters you have sent to your former employer demanding payment, etc.
Conciliation Court Rules
The Conciliation Court has its own unique set of court rules. Rules 521 through 525 of the Conciliation Court Rules contain information relevant to appealing Conciliation Court cases to District Court. Reviewing these rules may be helpful when deciding whether or not to appeal.
The Conciliation Court Appeals Clinic is open on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month (except when the court is closed on official court holidays) from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
The Conciliation Court Appeals Clinic is located in room 312 on the third floor of Minneapolis City Hall, 350 South 5th Street in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Businesses Not Assisted at the Conciliation Court Appeals Clinic
The Conciliation Court Appeals Clinic does not assist businesses or sole proprietors of businesses with the exception of landlords who are both owners and occupiers of a rental property.
If your business is a corporation, please see Nicollet Restoration vs. Tumham, 486 N.W.2d, 753, Minn. 1992 and Minnesota Statute section 491A.02, subdivision 4 regarding requirements when a corporation must be represented by an attorney in District Court proceedings.
You may contact Lawyer Referral and Information Services at 612-752-6666 for assistance locating an attorney for your business to hire. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney to represent your business, you may contact a nonprofit organization called LegalCORPS at 612-206-0780 or www.legalcorps.org to determine what free legal advice, if any, it may be able to provide.
Check the Order for Judgment on Claim or Counterclaim that the court mailed to you after your hearing to find out when your deadline to file an appeal is. Be sure that you do not miss your deadline to file an appeal.
Instructions and forms for appealing a Conciliation Court case to District Court are available through the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s website.
If you cannot afford to pay the District Court’s filing and other fees, fee waiver request forms called an Affidavit for Proceeding In Forma Pauperis and a proposed Order for Proceeding In Forma Pauperis and instructions are also available through the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s website.
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