Civil Division

Effective March 01, 2016

Please be advised that the Michigan legislature recently passed Electronic Filing Legislation. The legislation requires District Courts to collect an “electronic filing system fee” in addition to the existing filing fees when commencing an action in the District Court, regardless of whether the action is filed electronically.

The increase in the filing fees is as follows:

  • $10 for a new General Civil or Landlord Tenant Case (without money judgment)
  • $20 for new Landlord Tenant (with money judgment)
  • $5 for new Small Claims cases

The 20th District Court has jurisdiction in civil cases where the amount in dispute is less than $25,000. Generally, an attorney will file the appropriate pleadings and remit a filing fee to begin the case. However, plaintiffs do have the right to represent themselves. Visit the Civil Fees Page for more information.

Once the case is filed and served, the defendant has 21 days to respond after being served. If the defendant does not respond within 21 days, the court may enter a default judgment on behalf of the plaintiff. When the defendant responds timely, a pre-trial date will be set before the judge.

If the matter proceeds to trial, both the plaintiff and defendant will be allowed to present evidence and call witnesses. A judge or a jury will make a determination in the case following the presentation of evidence and witness testimony. Either party may request a jury trial, there is a jury fee. Visit the Civil Fees Page for more information.


The Michigan Supreme Court started a new online platform for resolving minor disputes (small claims, L/T, neighborhood, and general civil matters) through Michigan’s Community Dispute Resolution Program (CDRP) centers, called “MI-Resolve.” This service may be particularly helpful to litigants who may wish to try to resolve their dispute(s) during the Covid-19 crisis without leaving their homes.

Through MI-Resolve, parties can go online to negotiate directly with the other party or have a CDRP center mediator help them resolve their dispute. If the dispute is resolved, the system produces the necessary court forms for filing in individual courts. Importantly, the service is free, involving no cost to the parties or court.

The types of cases that have been managed through MI-Resolve so far include:

  1. Repayment of vehicle and personal loans
  2. Non-delivery or quality of goods and services
  3. Car accident (attempts to collect the deductible)
  4. Landlord/Tenant (return of security deposit and disputes over the amount of security deposit withheld, completion of repairs on rental homes)
  5. Return of private property between parties ending a domestic relationship
  6. Completion of repairs or home improvements (contractor/home repairs)
  7. Neighbor use of property that doesn’t belong to them; building a fence on a neighbor's lot