Small Claims

The Small Claim (SC) case category includes the following:

  • Contract – money damages $10,000.00 or less
  • Tort – money damages $10,000.00 or less

A Small Claim is any civil action based on either tort or contract for money not in excess of $10,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs, as defined by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 281.   

The following information has been compiled through the cooperation of the Judges of McHenry County and the McHenry County Bar Association. Its purpose is to assist parties appearing in Small Claims Court who are not represented by attorneys. The Small Claims Manual is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for an attorney or legal advice.

McHenry County Small Claims Manual

Filing Fees

To file a small claims complaint, the plaintiff must pay a filing fee depending on the amount and type of suit to be filed. If the amount of money you are asking for is $2,500.00 or less, the filing fee is $89.00.  If the amount of money exceeds $2,500.00 but not more than $10,000.00 the filing fee is $225.00. 

Amount of the Debt Fee to file the Small Claim Case
$2,500.00 or less $89.00
$2,500.01 – $10,000.00 $264.00

If the defendant lives in the State of Illinois, you may choose to have the Summons served Certified Mail through the Circuit Clerk’s Office. The charge for service would be an additional $22.51 per defendant added to the filing fee of the Complaint. If you choose to have the Summons served by the Sheriff of McHenry County (only if defendant lives in McHenry County) the Sheriff will charge a fee for serving the summons based on where the defendant lives. Check the McHenry County Sheriff’s Civil Process Fees. If the defendant lives in another county, and you choose to have the “Summons” served by Sheriff, you must place the “Summons” with the Sheriff of that county.

Small Claims Mediation program

Small Claims cases filed by self-represented litigants, and cases where self-represented litigants have appeared on both sides, shall (whenever feasible) be scheduled for the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month to be eligible for the 22nd Circuit Small Claims Mediation Program.  The summons return date shall be set for 9:15 a.m. on either the 2nd or 4th Wednesday of each month. The Court will arrange for a mediator to be available to the parties at those times.  


The Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice has approved the following forms for use in Small Claims cases in Illinois: