$5,000 increase in district court jurisdiction dies again in the Senate

Legislation that would have given Alabama’s 67 district courts authority in civil matters involving $5,000 more than their current jurisdiction allows died without final consideration by the Senate. The Alabama House OK’d the legislation March 15, while the Senate Judiciary Committee approved it April 26.

District courts have jurisdiction in civil matters where the amount in controversy is $10,000 or less. The small claims division within the district courts handles cases involving less than $6,000. HB92 by Rep. Paul Beckman, R-Prattville, would have increased district courts’ jurisdiction from all cases involving $10,000 or less in controversy to all cases of $15,000 or less. Circuit courts would then have had jurisdiction in matters exceeding $15,000. Filing fees would have remained the same.

A similar House bill also made it to the Senate in 2016, but never received final approval.

Rep. Jim Hill, R-Moody, introduced legislation that would have increased the court’s civil jurisdiction even further. HB42 would have increased the district courts’ jurisdiction to all cases of $25,000 or less. The House Judiciary Committee never considered Hill’s bill.

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