Small Claims

A “Small Claim” in Illinois is defined as a civil action not in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00). The rules relating to “Small Claims” are set forth in the rules of the Illinois Supreme Court. They are designed to enable an individual to collect a debt, or settle any small legal controversy involving money, without going through as much legal process and expense as might be required by a more substantial claim. If an individual wishes to proceed under these rules without benefit of counsel, he must realize that certain responsibility rests upon him.

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.

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. Checks for filing fees should be made payable to the McHenry County Circuit Clerk.

Amount of the DebtFee 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.


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