A judge cannot hear a case without it satisfying two basic requirements. The first requirement is that the court has jurisdiction over the defendant. The second requirement is proper venue. In other words, for a court to hear a case, the court must have the authority to make a decision against the other party. This means the court has jurisdiction. Second, the plaintiff must substantiate proper venue, meaning that the right court is hearing the case. With this in mind, there may be particular reasons that the statutorily “right” court is the wrong court to decide a case. For example, a party may request a change of venue if they fear they will not receive a fair hearing.
State & Federal Rules
Federal and state courts have strict rules regarding venue. Look at the local court rules to see how to find the correct Superior Court to file your case. Having the right court hearing you case is extremely important, so A People’s Choice is ready to assist you with obtaining a change of venue if necessary. Read on to learn more about how to change venue.
Federal courts require certain matters be heard only in Federal courts. For example, you must file a complaint about copyright violations in Federal court. State courts, on the other hand, can hear matters relating to real estate and other more local disputes. In the case of real estate, court cases will usually come before the court in the country where the property is located. In the case of automobile accidents, you would file the lawsuit in the county where the accident took place.
Why Request a Change of Venue?
Defendants ask for a change of venue of a case for many different reasons. For example, in a criminal matter, the defendant may want the venue changed if juror impartiality is unlikely. The defendant can request to move the matter to another local county. Alternatively, in a divorce case, a party may ask for a change of venue if neither party remains living near the court where they filed divorce. It is not uncommon for the parties to move away from where they filed their divorce case. For example, if the divorce was filed in Los Angeles County, but both parties have moved to Northern California, it would be inconvenient and burdensome for both parties to appear in Los Angeles. This would be a good reason to ask for a change of venue.
Grounds for change of venue include the following:
- The current judge exhibits prejudice against the defendant or another party
- Evidence and key witnesses reside far from the court’s location and it would be more appropriate to hear the matter in a more convenient court
- The current court location is not convenient for all parties
In the event a party wants to ask for a change of venue, they must file a motion with the court. A Memorandum of Points and Authorities must accompany the motion. The defendant must meet strict deadlines for filing the motion. For example, the court may require you to file the motion within 20 calendar days of service of the complaint. If the defendant fails to challenge the venue within the required time, he/she may forfeit his/her right to challenge the venue later.
You don’t need to hire an attorney if you want to ask the court for a change of venue. At A People’s Choice, we can help you prepare the motion you need along with a declaration to support your request. We provide flat fee legal document preparation services. In addition to preparing the documents, we can help file the documents with the court and schedule the change of venue hearing. Contact us today for more information about how to change the venue of your lawsuit or family law case. Call today at 805-648-5540.
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