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Demand Filing Court Documents

I am not a lawyer, I am a judgment broker. This article is my opinion, and not legal advice, based on my experience in California. Laws vary in each state. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer.

What if you have a judgment to recover, either as the original judgment creditor, or the assignee of record, or are representing the original judgment creditor (almost always as their attorney), and the court clerk will not stamp and file your motion, or some other court document?

What to do when a court clerk will not accept, stamp, and file your document; depends on why they rejected them. In most State courts, there are regulations that permit documents to be "filed on demand".

Usually, when a clerk was misinformed and/or stubborn, and refused to accept your filing because they felt it was the wrong form or not filled out properly; you could say "I request that you file it on demand." This meant that right or wrong, the document would be filed and you would suffer the consequences of possible filing the wrong form, but if you were right, the clerk would be powerless to stop you.
Filing by demand is no longer allowed in some Counties (e.g., Los Angeles, CA), so you may want to check if it is even allowed before you try it. Also, if the court clerk is not reasonable, to speak with a supervisor. See Edward Voit vs. The superior court of Santa Clara county, case # H037034. Case was certified for publication. It goes into great detail concerning the case law and the codes. Also see CRC Rule 1.20 "Filing"

Whether a motion has legal merit is a determination to be made by a judge, not the clerk's office. No statute, rule of court, or case law gives the court clerk's office the authority to demand that a petitioner cite or quote precedent before his motion will be filed. If a document is presented to the clerk's office for filing in a form that complies with the rules of court, the clerk's office has a ministerial duty to file it. Even if the document contains defects, the clerk's office should file it and notify the party that the defect should be corrected. See: Voit v. Superior Court, 201 Cal. App. 4th 1285 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011)

Politely ask the court clerk to explain why they are rejecting your filing. Remind them, that they can tell you what is generally wrong, without giving you legal advice.

If there is a fee required, or you are using the wrong version of a Judicial Council form, are missing a signature or a notarization, or are missing a required proof of service, you should not try to file the document until you correct the problem.

If you are complying with the appropriate laws, and that your document is correct and proper, you could politely ask the clerk to "demand file" your document.

Before requesting that a court clerk demand file your document, make sure you are correct. The published rules of your local court system may cover the rules and laws on the issues relevant to your proposed filing. Sometimes, the court clerk will be right.

If you are sure you are right, you can usually demand file your document. If the clerk refuses, you can ask to speak with a supervisor. The court clerk's immediate supervisor has the authority to instruct the clerk to accept your papers and file them. Some courts will let you know later, so be sure to bring a self-addressed stamped envelope just in case.

The court supervisor's office might be in a different office or location, at a main courthouse. If the supervisor says no, you can send a polite letter to the presiding court judge.

If the judge says no, you probably should stop there. However, you might be able to write a letter to the Judicial Council. If they say no, it is probably best to give up or hire a lawyer to advise you.

When you file by demand, the clerk stamps your document with a very noticeable "filed on demand" stamp. This might alert opposing parties, that something might not be right with your document.

Demand file court documents only as a last resort. Try not to do it more often than is absolutely required. The best outcome of a demand filing is to change the clerk's policy, by them or their supervisors learning why your filing was proper. You do not want to be known to the court as a problem customer.


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