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 on our website.
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 box for Certified Mail on 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 in the Richard J. Daley Center, or go to the Civil Division page and view the fee schedule on the bottom-right of the page.
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.
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