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District of Columbia Small Claims Court Information

Cases are heard by the Small Claims and Conciliation Branch (Superior Court).

  • Statutes: District of Columbia Annotated Title 11, Sections 1301-1323; Title 16, Sections 3901-3910; Title 17, Sections 301-307, Rules for Small Claims and Conciliation.
  • Dollar Limit: $5,000.
  • Where To Sue: Only one court in District.
  • Service: Certified or registered mail with return receipt, U.S. marshal or court-approved disinterested adult.
  • Hearing Date: 5-30 days from filing of complaint.
  • Attorneys: Allowed; required for corporations.
  • Transfer: If either side requests jury trial, if defendant files counterclaim affecting ownership of real estate, or if court determines interest of justice requires it, case tried under regular civil procedure of Court.
  • Appeals: By either side for review of law, not facts; to Court of Appeals within 3 days of initial judgment.
  • Special Provisions: No equitable relief. Limited discovery available with court permission. Court may refer cases to arbitration or mediation. Mediation is required for contested cases. Court may order installment payments. Wednesday evening and Saturday morning hours available. No eviction cases.

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