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Municipal Court - Civil Division


Municipal Court, Civil Division is taking filings in person by appointment. To file a new complaint call 215-686-7988. To relist a complaint/petition or to file a non-attorney petition call 215-686-7980 and to file a writ of possession, alias writ or writ of execution call 215-686-7989.

The Municipal Court Civil Division is the jurisdiction for civil cases where the amount in controversy is $12,000 or less for Small Claims; unlimited dollar amount for Landlord and Tenant Cases and $15,000 in real estate and school tax cases.

Municipal Court - Civil Division
Supervising Judge
Honorable Matthew S. Wolf
City Hall
Room 444
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: (215) 686-7570
FAX: (215) 686-9503

Deputy Court Administrator, Municipal Court - Civil Division
John J. Joyce
1339 Chestnut Street, Room 1020
Telephone: (215) 686-2910

The First Filing Unit is the initial contact for litigants filing a civil case in the Philadelphia Municipal Court. The Municipal Court prides itself on being extremely accessible for every individual whether represented by legal counsel or no, and this ideal remains constant within this unit.

The unit pre-interviews the non-represented clientele to ensure that they possess the required items needed to successfully process their claim. Then we provide trained interviewers to officially assist clients in completing the paperwork for the complaints. The service is unique to courts nationwide and places responsibility upon the unit to ensure that the information completed is correct per the court rules and applicable laws.

The unit handles all attorney filings (including bulk filing) which includes the responsibility to ensure that the filings are completed correctly. Other filings handled by this unit include all mail-in claims and all accommodations requested under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

All filing costs are accepted through the cashiers who are under the direction of the First filing Unit supervisor. The cashier system has recently changed with the court cashiers coming on line with the stystem utilitzed in City Hall.

The Municipal Court has jurisdictional limit for civil filings of $12,000.00 and an unlimited jurisdictional amount for rent only in landlord and Tenant Matters.

Other functions that this unit handles include the preparation of Petitions for Informa Pauperis for the general public, processing incoming Transferred Judgements for out of county cases, and providing temporary trained mediators for our Dispute Resolutions unit.

Stephen Elliott - Director
1339 Chestnut Street, Room 1000
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: (215) 686-2900

The Second Filings Unit was formerly known as the Civil Listing Unit. The Unit made this change in October of 2015, when it took over the pro-se petitions.

The Second Filings Unit handles the following functions:

Hearing Calendar
Responsible for scheduling and managing the number of cases heard in civil courtrooms in Municipal Court.

Hearing List
Preparing a list of cases for each courtroom for the Judges, Trial Commissioners, courtroom personnel, and the courtroom technicians.

Pro-Se Petitions
This office handles the filing of all petitions for non-represented litigants.

Pro-Se and Attorney filings for the following:
Answers to the Breach of Agreements
Defendant's Breach of Agreements
Withdrawals and Settled, Discontinued and Ended cases prior to a hearing
Scheduling petitions from the Sherriff's Office

Sends out continuance notices and notice of judgment paper work

Sends out notice of denied petitions

Processes the estimates for transcripts for Municipal Court Civil

Processes the request for Out of County Services

Erin Ferry - Director
1339 Chestnut Street, Room 1001
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: (215) 686-7980

The Dispute Resolution Program has two (2) divisions. The program mediates Housing, Small Claims and Private Criminal Complaints. The program also arbitrates Private Criminal complaints. The program is currently handling over 3,000 cases a year.

The mediations are conducted by volunteers, law students and staff members with arbitrations are conducted by attorneys appointed by the court. The volunteer agreements reach in mediation, and the orders entered in arbitration, are non-appealable and binding. The agreement rate is approximately seventy-five (75) percent for Small Claims cases, eighty (80) percent for Housing cases and sixty (60) percent for criminal mediations.

The Dispute Resolution Program currently provides extensive Dispute Resolution Skills and Procedural training for third year law students from Temple University and various organizations. Also, fee training is provided for interested volunteers who give their time to the litigants in court in an attempt to reach binding, voluntary agreements.

The program also conducts mediations for Private Criminal Complaints which are scheduled prior to the scheduling of a trial. The parties are given the opportunity to rectify the problem at mediation and if they are not successful, they will be referred to court. Until now, the parties were only offered arbitration (where parties submit to be bound by the Arbitrator's decision) by the Trial Commissioner at the first listing. The confidence of the court continues to rise regarding the program's ability to handle difficult cases.

Joseph McDermott - Director
1339 Chestnut Street, Room 600
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: (215) 686-2971

The Courtroom Technicians Unit functions both inside and outside of the courtroom. In court, Courtroom Technicians Unit employees manage the audio recording equipment, working cooperatively with other courtroom personnel and the presiding judge to ensure smooth operations and access to justice for all litigants. Unit employees enter dispositions on the Municipal Court Civil Division docket in all judicial courtrooms in real time. Beyond the courtroom, the Courtroom Technicians Unit is responsible for the quality control of all dispositions entered in Municipal Court, Private Criminal Complaints, and the Philadelphia Municipal Court Civil Division docket by maintaining its accuracy and integrity.

Theresa Cannon - Director
1339 Chestnut Street, Room 1004
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: (215) 686-2917

The Philadelphia Municipal Court is constantly revising their system of handling civil filings to better serve the public and more efficiently utilize the time of the judicial staff. With this in mind, the creation of the Civil Trial Commissioner was initiated.

The Civil Trial Commissioners have the authority to sit on the bench to handle most default judgments, settlements, agreements, withdrawals and agreed upon continuance requests.

The Trial Commissioners are not judges, but they do have the authority to handle all requests that do not require a judicial determination. The court prides itself on the lack of any court backlog. The functions of the Trial Commissioners help ensure that this will continue.

A Trial Commissioner will help the parties in addressing any questions they have regarding the process that is to take place, as long as those questions do not require a legal determination since this is beyond their accepted scope of responsibilities.

The Trial Commissioners must be in command of the Civil Rules of Procedure since their actions can have a serious detrimental effect upon the litigants if their duties are not conducted correctly. The commissioners complete the disposition electronically on the cases they can dispose, and those dispositions are relied upon by other offices


In summary, the commissioner enables a Municipal Court judge to concentrate on all contested matters and enable litigants to utilize the court without unnecessary and time-consuming delays.

Kimberly Oliver - Director of Operations
1339 Chestnut Street, Room 1020
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: 215 686-2910

Colleen McGrath, - Trial Commissioner
1339 Chestnut Street, Room, 1020
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: 215 686-2914

Dorian Nelson, - Trial Commissioner
1339 Chestnut Street, Room, 1020
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: 215 686-2970

Aaron Palmer, - Trial Commissioner
1339 Chestnut Street, Room 1020
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: (215) 686-7579

Kenneth H. Snyder, - Trial Commissioner
1339 Chestnut Street, Room 1020
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: (215) 686-2970

Richard J. Brandt, - Trial Commissioner
1339 Chestnut Street, Room 1020
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: (215) 686-2910

The Judgment and Petition Unit is an integral part of Municipal Court. The function of this unit is to assist the public, law firms, title companies and other city or private agencies to exercise their right to ask the court for relief, due process and any other requests necessary to resolve a post-trial action. The employees of this Unit must have a thorough knowledge of the Rules of Civil Procedure.

Individuals are not required to have an attorney and therefore; may lack the knowledge regarding their legal rights. It is not the responsibility of the court to provide legal advice, but it is our responsibility to provide assistance with facts, information and solutions so that the public will feel the Court system works for them. As representatives of the court, the employees of this Unit must be professional and courteous. Good communication skills are needed in order to provide the public with the policies and procedures of the Court System. The employees of this Unit must also have an understanding of not only other units within the Court System but also private and city agencies.

The Judgment and Petitions Unit currently handles all post-trial and Office of Judicial Records motions filed in the Civil Division of the Municipal Court. This Unit must assist all represented and non-represented litigants through the filing of all post-trial petitions and motions. These filings involve the enforcement of money judgments and judgments for possession in housing matters.

This Unit has evolved into an office that handles a vast amount of diversified petitions and motions. With the Court priding itself on easy access for all litigants. It is essential that this Unit continue to make the process manageable and understandable for all concerned.

The action taken by this unit has enormous impact upon the parties involved in the civil complaints. It is imperative that the unit interpret the transcripts correctly to allow enforcement according to the applicable rules and laws. For example, all filings of the Writ of Possession and Alias Writ of Possession are done through this Unit and these filings allow for forcible eviction to be carried out against a tenant. It is the responsibility of the staff to ensure that at no time is a tenant removed from a dwelling until and unless all procedures have been followed fully and correctly. In conjunction with this function and the enforcement of all money judgments, this unit now handles all Post-trial Office of Judicial Records functions. Again, the unit reviews documents to establish that a judgment is valid and rules and laws are followed to ensure that a party's belongings or bank accounts are not attached illegally.

Attorneys filing petitions are handled in this unit with new variations being adopted at all times to suit the needs of the parties. The substantial amount of petitions remain Petitions to Open. These are petitions filed by represented parties who have a judgment entered against them by default as a result of failing to appear at a hearing after being properly served with a complaint. With the Court change in monetary jurisdiction and filings the unit must adapt their usual procedures to ensure that all post-trial motions can be filed and properly heard.

Maggie Meehan, Director
1339 Chestnut Street, Room 1003
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: 215 686-7573

The Philadelphia Municipal Court has begun a program, in conjunction with the Big Sister Program of Philadelphia, which allows for disabled High School students to work within the court during the summer months. The program is funded through the Private Industry Council with a sub-contract with the Philadelphia Urban Coalition.

The court has had up to eighteen (18) students working in the court system each summer. The students are given the opportunity to gain invaluable work experience while enabling the court personnel to learn about the needs and skills of the disabled. The court has learned that these students should not be described as students with disabilities, but instead as students with skills. The experience has been a positive influence on the court and the court hopes to continue the program for many years.

Joseph McDermott- Facilitator
1339 Chestnut Street, Room 600
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: (215) 686-2971

For general Court information, contact (215) 686-7000.


Business Hours

  • Monday-Friday: 9am to 5pm