(A) Each municipal and county court shall establish a small claims division.
(B) Proceedings in the small claims division of a municipal court or a county court may be conducted by a magistrate appointed by the court. The magistrate shall be a person admitted to the practice of law in this state and shall receive the annual compensation that the court prescribes. In the case of a municipal court magistrate, the compensation shall be payable from the same sources and in the same manner as provided in section 1901.11 of the Revised Code. A part-time village solicitor or city director of law or part-time assistant village solicitor or city director of law of any municipal corporation may be appointed as a magistrate, serve in any case in which the municipal corporation is not an interested party, and receive the prescribed compensation.
(C) Except in the Cleveland municipal court, the court may appoint an administrative assistant for the small claims division, who shall perform the duties that are assigned by the court. In the Cleveland municipal court, the clerk of the court is the administrative assistant for the small claims division and shall perform the duties in that capacity that are assigned by the court.
(D) The appearance of an attorney at law on behalf of any party is permitted but not required. Notice to the attorney of record for a party is equivalent to notice to the party.
(E) The court may establish, by rule, procedures for hearing actions in the small claims division during evening hours on one weekday, or on Saturday. A division that has established voluntary conciliation procedures under section 1925.03 of the Revised Code may devote a portion of its evening or Saturday hours to conciliation procedures.
(F) A municipal or county court that has over two hundred fifty thousand persons within its territorial jurisdiction may establish neighborhood offices of the small claims division and may establish, by rule, times and procedures for holding sessions of the division at the neighborhood offices. If neighborhood offices are established, the legislative authority of the municipal court establishing the office, as defined in section 1901.03 of the Revised Code, and the board of county commissioners of the county in which the county court establishing the office is located may provide suitable accommodations and facilities for the neighborhood offices, as provided in sections 1901.36 and 1907.19 of the Revised Code.
Effective Date: 10-17-1996 .