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Pennsylvania Small Claims Court Information

In Philadelphia, Small Claims cases are heard in Municipal Court; elsewhere, in District or Justice Court.

  • Statutes: Philadelphia Statutes Annotated, Title 42, Part II, Subpart A, Article D, Ch. 11, Subchapter B, Section 1123; Title 42, Part II, Article E, Ch. 15, Subchapter B, Sections 1511-1520. Rules of Civil Procedure Governing Actions and Proceedings Before District Justices, Rules 201-325; Philadelphia Municipal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules 101-134.
  • Dollar Limit:: Philadelphia Municipal Court: $12,000 or less, $15,000 in real estate and school tax cases and unlimited in landlord-tenant matters; District or Justice Court: $8,000. Where To Sue: Where defendant resides or is found or where breach or injury occurred. Corporation resides where it has principal place of business.
  • Service: Certified or registered mail, sheriff or court- approved disinterested adult.
  • Hearing Date: Municipal Court: Set by court. District or Justice Court: 12-60 days from service.
  • Attorneys: Allowed; required for corporations, except when corporation is defendant and claims is for more than $2,500 (Philadelphia Municipal Court).
  • Transfer: Municipal Court: If defendant counterclaims over jurisdictional limit, case tried in Court of Common Pleas. District or Justice Court: No provision.
  • Appeals: By either side for new trial or a trial by jury; to Court of Common Pleas within 30 days.
  • Special Provisions: District Justice Court: no real estate cases; court may order installment payments; court may order arbitration. Municipal Court: no jury trial. If claiming more than $2,000 for injury to self or property, will have to submit a verified (signed under oath) statement of claim (Philadelphia Municipal Court).