CCP 1171 and CCP 631 Discusses Jury Trials


CCP 1171 and CCP 631 both discuss jury trials. The purpose of this article is to explain how CCP 1171 and CCP 631 relate to jury trials in California unlawful detainer (eviction) cases. Before we dive in, I should note that normally the landlord will not want to request a jury trial. In most cases, an unlawful detainer case turns in to a jury trial because the tenant demanded it. Tenants sometimes demand jury trials because a jury trial will increase the landlord’s costs and expenses and a jury trial takes much more time than a bench (non-jury) trial.

CCP 1171 simply states:

Whenever an issue of fact is presented by the pleadings, it must be tried by a jury, unless such jury be waived as in other cases.  The jury shall be formed in the same manner as other trial juries in an action of the same jurisdictional classification in the Court in which the action is pending.

CCP  631, on the other hand, outlines more of the requirements and the procedure for demanding a jury trial and waiving jury trials.

Importantly, a tenant has waived a jury in the following circumstances:

  1. By failing to appear at the trial.
  2. By written consent filed with the clerk or judge.
  3. By oral consent, in open court, entered in the minutes.
  4. By failing to announce that a jury is required, at the time the cause is first set for trial, if it is set upon notice or stipulation, or within five days after notice of setting if it is set without notice or stipulation.
  5. By failing to pay the fee on time (unless there is a fee waiver).

Together, CCP 1171 and CCP 631 provides the rules for jury trials. Landlords should read through the entire text of CCP 631 for more details. The bottom line is, landlords generally should oppose jury trials, but sometimes a jury trial is unavoidable if the tenant demands it and the demand is not waived.

Want to read more on eviction jury trials? Read my earlier post: Did Your Tenant Demand a Jury Trial in a California Unlawful Detainer Eviction Case?

The Law Office of David Piotrowski can assist landlords with unlawful detainer eviction cases. We work hard to make your case proceed as quickly as possible.

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