Delaware Small Claims Procedure (Justice of the Peace Court): An Overview

From maximum dollar limits to statutes of limitations, learn the basics about small claims court in Delaware.

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What's the dollar limit for small claims court cases in Delaware?

The most you can ask for in a small claims case is $15,000.

Which court hears small claims cases in Delaware?

Small claims cases in Delaware are heard in the Justice of the Peace Court.

What is the statute of limitations period for filing a claim in small claims court in Delaware?

For information on Delaware's statute of limitation periods for claims related to written contracts, oral contracts, injuries, and property damage, see Nolo's 50-state Statutes of Limitations chart.

How long does the defendant have to answer the small claims court complaint?

In Delaware, the defendant may file a written answer within 15 days in all debt or trespass claims to avoid default. If defendant files counterclaim above $15,000, the defendant can still pursue the counterclaim in justice of the peace court. (There is no provision for transfer to higher court.) If defendant wins counterclaim, there are two options: (1) the court will note the outcome on the record and defendant may take the case to a higher court, or (2) defendant may waive the excess over $15,000 and accept $15,000 as the judgment.

Are attorneys allowed in small claims court in Delaware?

You are allowed to have an attorney represent you in small claims court in Delaware.

Can a landlord bring an eviction lawsuit in small claims court in Delaware?

Eviction cases are allowed in small claims court in Delaware.

Do I have a right to a jury trial in small claims court in Delaware?

In Delaware, jury trials generally are not allowed in small claims court. They are, however, permitted in eviction cases, if the defendant makes the request within ten days of being served.

Where can I get more information about small claims court in Delaware?

For more information about Delaware small claims court, see http://courts.delaware.gov/JPCourt/.

Nolo's Small Claims Court area has many helpful related articles. For more detailed help with filing a case, using the best strategy in court, and collecting your money if you win, see Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court, by Attorney Ralph Warner (Nolo).

Updated: October 1, 2015

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