Rules of Practice - 5th Judicial Circuit of Illinois

Rule IX.

 Special Rules Pertaining to Small Claim Actions

Rules of Practice


A. Issuance of Summons
The issuance of summons in small claims cases shall be in accordance with Supreme Court Rules. If it appears on the return date of a  summons that the defendant has not been served with summons or by certified mail, the plaintiff may request the issuance of an alias summons which shall be returnable at the date and hour certain to be set by the court. If at the end of 6 months following the filing of the complaint, it appears that the defendant has not been served, the case may be dismissed without prejudice.

B. Corporations
Corporations shall appear in small claims court according to Supreme Court Rule 282(b).

C. Initial Appearance by Parties
The plaintiff and the defendant must appear in Court on the return date set in the summons. If the defendant does not appear on the return date, default may be entered against the defendant for an amount not to exceed the amount stated in the complaint plus court costs. If the default judgment is entered, the Clerk of the Court or other such party as directed by the court shall give notice of said default judgment. (Suggested Form - Appendix E)

D. Denial of Claim
If the defendant denies the claim, the cause shall be set for trial at a date and time certain. The defendant may be ordered to pay the appropriate appearance fee by a date certain. If the appearance fee is not paid, the trial date will be vacated, default judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant for an amount not exceeding the amount stated plus court costs, and the defendant and the plaintiff shall be notified of such action. Appearance fees may be waived or postponed upon a showing of good cause.

E. Continuances
Motions for continuance shall be in accordance with the rules of this court. Continuances, except by leave of the court, shall be for a period of time not exceeding 30 days. No cause will be continued more than 3 times, except under unusual circumstances, and only when such request is in the form of a written motion stating the reason for which such continuance is requested. The granting of such motion will be at the Court's discretion.

F. Setting of Trial Date
Jury small claims cases should be set for jury trial at the first possible jury setting after receipt of jury demand. All other small claims cases at issue shall be set by the court at the earliest practicable date.

G. Vacating of Default Judgment
Petitions to vacate default judgment shall be presented to the Judge entering the judgment.

H. Dismissal for Lack of Activity
Docket calls will be set once a year, and those cases in which there has been no activity for 180 days shall be placed on a docket call, and may be dismissed without prejudice on that date unless good cause be shown.

I. Matter Under Advisement
No case shall be kept under advisement more than 30 days.

J. Post Judgment Matters
If on the date set for the hearing on a citation to discover assets the defendant fails to appear and a proof of service is on file, a rule to show cause may issue and a hearing date set on the rule by the court. In its discretion, the Court may issue a body attachment for failure to appear at a citation hearing, but bond thereon shall not exceed $300.00 cash upon the first failure to appear at a citation hearing. Proof of notice of the hearing on the rule to show cause may be made by certificate of mailing to defendant's last known address in those cases where a body attachment is not issued.