Delaware State Courts
   home | feedback 
Delaware State Courts.  The Official Website of the Delaware Judiciary
Delaware State Courts

 Citizen Help Home


 Appellate Handbook

 Supreme Court

 Superior Court

 Family Court

 Court of Common  Pleas

 Justice of the Peace  Court

 Administrative  Appeals


Justice of the Peace Court Appeals of Civil Cases to the Court of Common Pleas

General Instructions

All decisions from the Justice of the Peace Court civil matters, except landlord/tenant possession cases, may be appealed to the Court of Common Pleas in the county in which the Justice of the Peace Court is located.  The landlord/tenant cases MUST be appealed to a three judge panel of Justices of the Peace.  Appeals to this Court are “de novo,” meaning that the case starts over in the Court of Common Pleas.  (Court of Common Pleas Civil Rule 72.3(a))

The party who is appealing the Justice of the Peace Court decision is the “Appellant.”  The party whose role it is to respond to the appeal filed by the Appellant is the “Appellee.”

The named parties and issues outlined in the appeal must be filed exactly as it was in the Justice of the Peace Court.  Parties must comply with the requirements of Civil Rule 72.3 of the Court of Common Pleas Rules of Civil Procedure. 

Corporations must be represented by legal counsel in the Court of Common Pleas.

All filing fees filed with the Court are non-refundable.

Appeals From the Justice of the Peace Court Civil Cases Plaintiff's Instructions

To appeal a decision from a Justice of the Peace Court civil matter, the Plaintiff Below must file within fifteen (15) days the following:

  • A Notice of Appeal.   This must be filed in the Clerk’s Office of the Court of Common Pleas and must include an original and one copy for each party to be served. 

  • An original Praecipe and one copy.   A Praecipe is a document which tells the Sheriff where to serve the parties. 

  • An original Summons on Appeal and one copy for each party to be served. The Summons on Appeal is the document that the Sheriff will serve with the pleadings.  Pleadings are written statements in which a party to a lawsuit sets forth or responds to claims, allegations, denials and defenses.  

  • An original Complaint with the Court plus one (1) copy for each party to be served. (See sample Complaint)

At  the  same  time, or  within  ten  (10)  additional  days,  the  Plaintiff Below must:

  • Pay a non-refundable $135.00 filing fee (including the Court Security Assessment). Payments can be made with check, cash, or money order. Currently, we are unable to accept credit/debit card payments at the Court. All checks must be made payable to the “Court of Common Pleas.”

  • Pay a separate non-refundable check made payable to “Sheriff.” Sheriff costs are as follows:

    If you are serving more than one person, the costs are $30.00 for the first address and $30.00 for each additional address.  There is a $5.00 fee for each additional person served at the same address.

  • The Appellant shall, within ten (10) calendar days, file a copy of the notice of appeal with the Justice of the Peace Court.

Once the Defendant Below has been served with the Complaint, he/she shall have twenty (20) days in which to file an Answer. If the Defendant Below fails to file an Answer, see the “How to Prepare a Civil Motion” available in the Clerk’s Office.  

What happens if I fail to file these documents and pay all fees?

Your appeal cannot proceed until you have complied with all instructions.  If you fail to file any of the required documents or you fail to submit the appropriate fees, your appeal will be dismissed by the Court.

All filing fees are non-refundable.

What happens after I file my doucments and pay all fees?

Once all the pleadings above have been served on the Defendant Below, he/she will have twenty (20) days to respond in writing to the Complaint.   Pleadings are written statements in which a party to a lawsuit sets forth or responds to claims, allegations, denials and defenses.  Examples of pleadings are a “Complaint” and “Answer.”  If the Defendant Below responds within twenty (20) days, you will be notified by the Court of a Pre-trial Conference with the Judge and the other party.

A party may call the Civil Clerk’s Office to determine if “service” has been made on a party.  “Service” or “service of process” is the formal delivery of a legal notice.   You may have to make another attempt if no service is made within the prescribed time allotted.

What is a pre-trial conference?

If the Defendant Below answers the Complaint, the case may be scheduled for a pre-trial conference.  At the conference, the parties will meet with a judicial officer in an attempt to narrow the issues, determine the number of witnesses to be called, the length of the trial, and to discuss the possibility of settlement.

If a pre-trial conference is scheduled, you will receive notice by mail along with a pre-trial worksheet, which must be completed by both parties and returned to the Court at least three (3) days before the scheduled conference.

Sample Forms

Notice of Appealpdf icon
Praecipepdf icon
Summons on Appealpdf icon
Complaintpdf icon

Adobe Acrobat pdf icon The forms above are available in pdf format. If you do not have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it at