a local court which deals with cases involving small amounts of money Culture The amount is usually less than £5 000 in Britain and $10 000 in the US. It is much cheaper to use small claims courts than any other type of court, and they are usually used by customers who feel that they have been treated dishonestly. People often act as their own lawyers. The court can also decide personal disputes that do not involve money, e.g. forcing somebody to return property to its owner.