All About Sessions Civil Court

The Court of General Sessions, Civil Division is a court of limited jurisdiction. A person may represent himself without an attorney. A corporation filing suit must have an attorney.


The following cases may be filed in Sessions Court on a Civil Warrant. These suits may not exceed $25,000.00. Suits above this amount must be filed in Circuit Court.

  • Open Accounts
  • Contracts
  • Notes
  • Damages


These suits may be filed for an unlimited amount.



The clerk must have an original civil warrant and a copy for each defendant to file a suit. An additional civil warrant is required for service out of county or out of state. All cost on civil warrants are prepaid unless a pauper’s oath is filed. The warrant must include the following information:


  • The plaintiff’s name, address and phone number
  • The defendant’s name, home address and work address
  • The attorney’s name, address, and attorney’s number
  • The type of action and the amount of the suit
  • Both sides of the warrant must have the same style

Civil warrants served by the Secretary of State must be accompanied by a $20.00 check payable to the Secretary of State. Civil warrants served by the Commissioner of Insurance must be accompanied by a $15.00 check payable to the Commissioner of Insurance. Civil warrants served out of county must have a $42.00 check payable to the sheriff of the county doing the service.


The hearing on cases served out of county or by a private process server are set in advance of service by the clerk. All other hearings are set by the deputy at the time of service. The clerk is not required to send notification of any court dates. It is the responsibility of the plaintiff to call the clerk’s office to confirm service and the court date. There are no jury trials in Sessions Court. It is not a court of record and all judgments are rendered by the Judge.


A thirty day notice, or 10 day notice if Rent is weekly, must be given to the tenant before a detainer warrant can be issued, unless lease states otherwise. Writs of possession may not be issued until the eleventh day from the judgment date. When a plaintiff is given a judgment for possession of the property on a detainer warrant, it is the plaintiff’s responsibility to request the writ of possession. Arrangements for service are made through the Sheriff’s Department. The plaintiff is responsible for removing any possessions left by the tenant from the property. An appeal on a judgment must be filed within ten days after the judgment is rendered. The cost of Appeal is $209.50. A garnishment can be issued on the eleventh day after the judgment date. A wage garnishment is effective for six months. Personal checks cannot be accepted on garnishments.


Frequently Asked Questions: Both Circuit and Sessions Civil Court


Attorney

Question: Can I file a case without an attorney?
Answer: Yes. This office cannot give you any legal advice. This office does not have any forms.


Question: Can I change attorneys?
Answer: Yes, but you need to discuss this with your current attorney.


Question: Can the court recommend an attorney for my case?
Answer: No. You may call the lawyer Referral Service at (423) 266-5950.


Question: How can an attorney issue a garnishment without notice?
Answer: Garnishments are issued only if a judgment has been entered.



Contact Information & Directions

Question: Where do I call for case information?
Answer: (423) 209-6700


Question: What is the phone number for City Court?
Answer: (423) 757-5141


Question: Who do I call concerning jury duty in Hamilton County?
Answer: Call the phone number listed on your jury summons, NOT the judge's name that appears on the summons.


Question: What is the phone number and FAX number for the Circuit Court?
Answer: Phone: (423) 209-6700, Fax: (423) 209-6701


Question: Where is the Circuit Court Clerk located?
Answer: On the fifth floor of the Hamilton County Courthouse, Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Courthouse is located between 6th & 7th Streets and Walnut and Georgia Avenue.


Question: What is the mailing address:
Answer: Circuit Court Clerk 500 Hamilton County Courthouse 625 Georgia Avenue Chattanooga,Tennessee 37402-1911



Logistics

Question: How are the cases assigned to a Judge?
Answer: Cases are randomly assigned each Thursday at the close of business.


Question: Can I talk to a Judge about my case?
Answer: No. Judges do not speak with individuals concerning matters they will have to rule on.


Question: What is the difference between a restraining order and an order of protection?
Answer: A restraining order is obtained by an attorney filing a petition. An order of protection can be obtained without an attorney – further information may be obtained from the Circuit Court by calling 423-209-6700.


Question: How can I get a marriage annulled?
Answer: Any information regarding grounds for annulment or divorce will have to be answered by an attorney.


Question: Can I access case information from the Internet?
Answer:Not at this time



Costs & Money


Circuit Court Costs
Sessions Civil Court Costs

Question: What is the charge for filing a suit?
Answer: Click the button above


Question: What is the charge to file a divorce?
Answer: The cost depends on several factors including whether you have children, whether a restraining order is required, and where you will have the divorce published.


Question: Why did I receive a statement for court costs when I have never been to Court?
Answer: Court costs are determined by the pleadings filed in the Circuit Court – not an appearance in the Courtroom. The Judge assesses all costs.


Question: Why didn’t my attorney pay the court costs?
Answer: Court costs are taxed to the parties, not attorneys


Question: Where do I go to collect rent or for an eviction? (detainer)
Answer: General Sessions Court – Civil Division (423) 209-7630.


Question: What is the cost of an order of protection?
Answer: The costs are taxed at the conclusion of the case.


Question: How much are copies?
Answer: Copies are $0.50 per page. Certified Copies are $5.00 plus $0.50 per page.


Order of Protection Form

Order of Protection Tennessee Code Annotated 36-3-604(b) forms are available here at the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts Website.(Forms are provided in Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Arabic, Somali, and English)


What is the difference between a restraining order and an order of protection?

A restraining order is obtained by an attorney filing a petition. An order of protection can be obtained without an attorney – further information may be obtained from the Circuit Court by calling 423-209-6700.


Larry L. Henry


Contact Me

Circuit Court (Hours: 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Except for these holidays)

Address: 500 Courthouse 625 Georgia Avenue Chattanooga, TN 37402.

Phone Number: 423-209-6700 and FAX Number: 423-209-6701



Larry Henry serves as Clerk for both the Circuit Court and Sessions Civil Court. The Clerk handles all documents relating to lawsuits (such as petitions, summons, warrants, subpoenas). He also manages the collection, receipt, and accounting of all litigation taxes, child support payments, court costs, and other fines. The Clerk maintains jury data and handles juror assignment for the Circuit court, Criminal court and Chancery court.

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