The Civil Division is responsible for handling civil cases seeking damages less than $30,000. The types of cases heard include: contract, property damage, personal injury, eviction, replevin, housing, attachments and garnishments. The Civil Division is located in the Daley Center Room 602 and the number is (312) 603-5116.
Civil Division Pro Se
Pro se petitioners can file for up to $3,000 in small claims. The party must act as their own attorney. Assistance is provided through the Chief Judge's Office. Pro se petitioners can visit the Daley Center Room 602 or call (312) 603-5626 with any questions.
Circuit Court of Cook County
Information about court organization, court locations, judge information, court holidays and the trial process can be found at the Circuit Court website.
Glossary of Legal Terms
Illinois Code of Civil Procedure
CIVIL PROCEDURE (735 ILCS 5/) Code of Civil Procedure.
Illinois Supreme Court Rules
Illinois Supreme Court's list of Illinois Supreme Court Rules
Municipality Fees (705 ILCS 105/27.1b)
Deceptive practices that result in financial or other losses for consumers in the course of seemingly legitimate business transactions (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Consumer+Fraud).
Q: I want to file a lawsuit, what forms do I need and where can I get them?
A: To file a lawsuit, you must complete a Complaint form, a Summons form, as well as a Civil Division Action Cover Sheet. These forms are available in the Civil Division of the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County (Clerk’s Office) in Room 601 of the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60602 or at https://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/NewWebsite/Forms.aspx?categoryid=11.
Also, you will have to serve the defendant either through the Sheriff’s Office or by Certified Mail. You may serve by Certified Mail if your claim does not exceed $10,000 and the defendant is in the state of Illinois (Check the box for Certified Mail on the summons.) You may refer to “How do I serve the Defendant?” below for information on serving the defendant.
NOTE: Eviction/Joint Action cases cannot be served by Certified Mail.
The Complaint and Summons forms can be downloaded HERE
Q: Will I have to pay a filing fee and if so for what amount?
A: Yes, you will be required to pay a filing fee. The fee will vary depending on the amount of your claim. You may pick up a schedule of filing fees at the Customer Service Counter in the Civil Division in Room 601 of the Richard J. Daley Center, or view the fee schedule at CCG 0603 (FEE SCHEDULE).
Q: Will I have to pay for service by Certified Mail?
A: Yes, you will be required to pay the Clerk’s Office a nominal fee to serve by Certified Mail.
NOTE: You may only choose to serve by Certified Mail if your case is under $10,000 and the defendant is in the state of Illinois. Certified Mail fees are subject to be changed by the U.S. Postal Service.
Q: What must I do after I have completed the complaint and summons?
A: After you have completed the complaint, summons and Civil Division Action Cover Sheet, get a return date from the blackboard in 601 or 602 of the Richard J. Daley Center. You will need to put a return date on both the complaint and summons forms. The return date is important because this is the date by which the party you are suing (the defendant) must respond.
Q: Will I (the plaintiff) need to come to court on the return date?
A: No, the plaintiff does not need to come to court on the return date unless you are filing a Forcible Detainer (Eviction), Replevin, Detinue or Revival of Judgment case. The return date is only important for the defendant, the person or party you are suing-- because the defendant must respond to the lawsuit on or before the return date. Think of the return date as a response date by which the defendant must respond to your lawsuit.
Note: The return date is an actual court date when filing the following types of lawsuits: Forcible Detainer (Eviction), Replevin, Detinue or Revival of Judgment.
View All Civil Division Frequently Asked Questions
The Civil Division Appearance Counter is located at 50 W. Washington, Daley Center in Room 602.
Customer goes to black drop box in Room 602 (located near the Appearance Counter).
Serve five-day or 30 day notices, give a copy to tenant, have your copy notarized. (This is your proof to the judge that you have followed legal procedure.)
Check the number of service attempts by the Sheriff in Room 602.
Go to the motion counter in Room 601. Get forms for Special Process Server. (S.P.S. forms)
Customer puts the completed Motions for Special Process Server in the appropriate drop box in room 601.
Customer puts the completed Motions for Satisfaction Release of Judgment or Memorandum of Judgment for the 11th floor in the appropriate drop box in room 601.
The Return of Service processed in the Summons Control Department include, but are not limited to, Contracts, Torts, Personal Injury and Replevins. A brief listing of what a Return of Service should include is a Summons, Complaint and an Affidavit of Service. All Returns of Service should include a valid return date and case number to reference for processing.
Returns of Service for Evictions should be taken to the Eviction Counter in Room 602.
The fees of the court have changed pursuant to the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act, Public Acts 100-987, 100-1161, and 100-994, and Cook County Ordinance 19-2843.
The Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act is comprehensive legislation that consolidates the fees and assessments of the court throughout the State of Illinois into 13 schedules for criminal and traffic cases and 4 schedules for civil cases. The Act is effective July 1, 2019.