House approves $5,000 increase in district court jurisdiction

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, April 26, approved legislation to give Alabama’s 67 district courts authority in civil matters involving $5,000 more than their current jurisdiction allows. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration. The Alabama House OK’d it on Wednesday, March 15.

District courts currently have jurisdiction in civil matters where the amount in controversy is $10,000 or less. The small claims division within the district courts handle cases involving less than $6,000. HB92 by Rep. Paul Beckman, R-Prattville, would increase 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 jurisdiction in matters exceeding $15,000. Filing fees would remain the same.

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

Rep. Jim Hill, R-Moody, introduced legislation that would increase the court’s civil jurisdiction even further. HB42 would increase the district courts’ jurisdiction to all cases of $25,000 or less. Assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, Hill’s bill has yet to be considered.

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