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What If I Missed the Court Hearing?

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If you, the plaintiff, did not appear at the hearing, the court probably dismissed your case without prejudiceOpens new window  You will have to start your case all over again.

If you, the defendant, did not appear at the hearing, the court probably entered a default judgment Opens new window against you.  This means you lost the case.

If you had a very good reason why you did not show up, you may ask the court to cancel (called “vacate”) Opens new window this judgment and hold another hearing.  (See California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 116.730) Opens new window

  • If you, the defendant, were properly served Opens new window and did not appear, you have 30 days to file this request. (The 30 days are from the date the court clerk mailed the Notice of Entry of Judgment, Form SC-130, to you.) 
  • If you, the defendant, were improperly served (for example, the plaintiff had an incorrect name for you) and you did not appear, you have 180 days to file this request. (The 180 days are from the date you knew – or should have known – that the judgment was entered against you.) 

To learn how to ask the court to cancel the default judgment and hold another hearing, click here.


At the new hearing, the judge will decide whether to cancel the judgment or not. 

  • You will need to bring proof that you had a very good reason to not go to the first hearing (for example, a letter from a doctor or a hospital bill to prove that you were in the hospital and could not attend).

IF the judge decides to cancel the judgment, he or she may immediately hold a new hearing. Be prepared to defend your case. 

  • Bring evidence or witnesses you need to prove your case. 
  • Be prepared to tell your side of the story.


IF the judge decides NOT to cancel the judgment, it is possible to for you to appeal this decision. 

  • You have 10 days to file an appeal.


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