Skip to Content

General Civil

Pleadings requiring filing fees must be either filed in person, online or via mail to:

36th District Court
421 Madison St
Detroit, MI. 48226
Attn: Civil Division
Fax: 313 967-7551


This department handles cases in which one party (a person, group, business, corporation, or organization) brings an action against another party for money owed.  Actions include but are not limited to overdue accounts, rental security deposits, delinquent rent, repair bills, physical damage to property or breach of contract.

The person being sued must live within the city of Detroit or do business within the City of Detroit , or the action must have occurred in the city of Detroit.  To begin a lawsuit in the Civil Division, you must fill out and file the appropriate forms and pay the necessary fees at the Civil counter on the 2nd floor.  The docket is divided into two main categories:

  • General Civil cases (for suits up to $25,000.00)
  • Small Claims (for suits up to $6,500.00 (this limit will increase January 2024)


The General Civil docket handles all lawsuits started in the Civil Division that are not Small Claims cases.  In these cases, either party has the right to an attorney, the right to a jury trial, and the right to appeal the decision of the court. Corporations must be represented by an attorney.

A civil action begins with the filing of a summons with the court.  A complaint is the original pleading in a civil action where the plaintiff states the basis for the lawsuit.  A summons is a notice that is served (delivered) on a party advising that a lawsuit has been started against him or her.  The summons directs the person to file an answer (written response) in court within the given time or a judgment will be entered.

Fee information for starting a suit as well as service (notice) fees can be obtained at the cashier counter or click this link to view the fee schedule.  Personal service fees must be arranged with the Court Officer.

Please click here if you need assistance in handling simple civil legal problems without a lawyer.

For more information on Small Claims or Abandoned Vehicle Petitions, please click on the appropriate link to the left.