(Pro Se means for “for himself” or in one’s own behalf)
Circuit Court of Cook County
50 West Washington Street, Room 1308
Richard J. Daley Center
Chicago, Illinois 60602
The Pro Se Small Claims Court of the Circuit Court of Cook County is a section within the First Municipal District.
Judges are assigned to Pro Se Small Claims Court on a rotating basis.
Persons who choose to represent themselves in court without the aid of an attorney are known as pro se litigants. This is because pro se is Latin for “for himself” or in one’s own behalf.
The Pro Se Branch of the First Municipal District’s Small Claims Court was established to give people without lawyers the opportunity to pursue their claims for small amounts of monetary damages in a quicker and less expensive way than traditional litigation.
The Pro Se Branch works as follows:
- The person filing the complaint (the plaintiff) must be pro se; attorneys are not allowed to file complaints on behalf of clients in this branch.
- Plaintiffs may seek monetary damages only up to $3,000.00.
- Defendants can defend against the complaint either pro se or with an attorney.
- If the defendant appears with a lawyer, the plaintiff has the right to hire an attorney, and the case remains in the Pro Se Branch of the Small Claims Court.
- The judge refers all cases to mediation before hearing the cases to give the parties the opportunity to reach a solution to their conflict on their own.
The following types of cases are heard in the Pro Se Branch of the Small Claims Court:
- Breach of contract
- Personal injury motor vehicle
- Property damage
- Personal injury subrogation
*See Glossary of Legal Terms for definitions.
Daily Court Schedule
- 9:30 a.m. – Trial Call
- 2 p.m. – Motions of Course
Court Forms: (click on name of form and will appear as a .pdf)
For People Without Lawyers