Currently, we are accepting new cases in person. Appointments are preferred.
Small Claims Court is a simpler, faster, and cheaper way to go to court and get your problem figured out. Small Claims are cases that involve disagreements about money one person owes another. Here at the Philadelphia Municipal Court, we deal with Small Claims cases involving up to $12,000. Some examples of Small Claims Cases are:
The court does NOT deal with cases against Commonwealth parties like SEPTA (The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority). If you win a Small Claims Case, you can get money. The court can NOT make someone do something, like give back property or make repairs.
We have resources to help you with your small claims case no matter what side you're on.
The civil court mostly deals with two types of cases: Contract Actions and Negligence Actions.
A contract is an agreement between two or more people or organizations. It can be a written or spoken agreement. Common examples of contracts include:
In each of these examples, one side agrees to pay money in return for something that the other side gives them. The agreement breaks when one side does not do what they promised.
Negligence actions involve someone being careless and causing harm to another person. Negligence is based on the idea that everyone has a responsibility to protect others. When people get hurt because someone else was careless, they can submit a case to ask the other side for money.
One example of a negligence action is when someone drives through a red light and hits another car. If people in the other car get hurt, they can submit a negligence action case with the court. This case would be for personal injuries and property damages. They would ask the driver to pay for their medical and mechanic bills.
You got a Statement of Claim because someone is suing you. They sued you because they think you owe them money. The Statement of Claim says why the person thinks you owe them money. Read the Statement of Claim carefully so you understand what the other side is saying. You got a Statement of Claim because someone is suing you. They sued you because they think you owe them money. The Statement of Claim says why the person thinks you owe them money. Read the Statement of Claim carefully so you understand what the other side is saying.
On the left side of the Statement of Claim under the heading “Summons to the Defendant,” you will find the date, time and location of the hearing. All hearings are in a courtroom on the 6th floor of the Widener Building, 1339 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. It is important that you show up on time. If you are late, you might automatically lose the case.
If you want to reschedule your hearing date, you need to ask the court in writing at least 10 days before the hearing. This is called making a request for a continuance.
If you do not ask to reschedule the hearing at least 10 days in advance, you must go to the hearing in person. At the hearing, you can ask to reschedule it. You must tell the other parties in advance that you plan to request a continuance at the hearing.
No. The Municipal Court is designed so that you can go through the legal process without a lawyer. If you decide that you want a lawyer, you can contact the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service at 215-238-6333. You might qualify for a free lawyer or free legal advice.
If you want to challenge the lawsuit because you don’t think you should have to pay the other side, complete the Notice to Defend.
By filing this notice, you are telling the court three things:
If you think that the Municipal Court is not where you should be sued, please call Court Administration at 215-686-2910 as soon as possible. This might happen if you are not a resident of Philadelphia or if your case is for more than the $12,000 limit of Municipal Court. Staff will explain how to submit a letter to notify the court.
If you believe that you have a claim against the person who sued you or you believe that another person should be a party to the action, please call the Fist Filing Unit at 215-686-7988 as soon as possible and a member of the court’s staff will explain to you how to submit a counterclaim, cross-claim, or additional claim. The court does not require or accept what you may have heard described as an Answer, New Matter, or Preliminary Objections.
You should bring all documents and witnesses that support your case. Documents can include letters, canceled checks, bills of sale, contracts, agreements, canceled checks, photographs, account books, and paid bill receipts. Documents should be printed and not on a cell phone. Make sure you bring copies of all documents for the other side.
If you do not show up for your hearing you risk losing your case. This is called a Default Judgment. Learn more about how to reschedule your hearing.
If you represent an organization, you must be an executive officer (President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer). Bring proof that you are allowed to speak for the organization. Proof could be things like articles of incorporation showing that you are an officer of the corporation. You may also complete and bring an Authorized Representative Form.
Call the court at 215-686-2910 or come to the court at 1339 Chestnut Street, 10th floor, Room 1000
Call 215-686-7000 for general court information.