New Appeal Laws Take Effect July 1, 2023

Starting July 1, 2023, a person seeking to review the decision of a case no longer files a Notice of Appeal with Magistrate Court.
A Petition for Review must be filed in State or Superior Court within the time allowed by law. Once the Petition is filed, a copy of the filed Petition of Review containing the new case number must be served on all parties and filed with the Magistrate Court.
To request a Certificate of Payment of Costs, a form is provided for general use under Forms/Request a Certificate of Payment of Costs.
The Magistrate Court will only accept a copy of the filed Petition for Review and Requests for Certificate of Payment of Cost by mail, efile or hand delivery. (Do not email or fax any filed Petition or Requests to Magistrate Court.)
The Judicial Council of Georgia Administrative Office of the Court has prepared a “Citizen’s Guide to the Petition for Review Process”. By clicking here , you will see the Guide.
Any specific questions regarding the new laws and how it impacts your case should be directed to an attorney as the Clerk’s Office cannot provide legal advice.

About The Court

The Magistrate Court plays an important role for the people in the community. The court provides assistance to individuals in civil and criminal actions. An attorney is not required in this court, which makes the Magistrate Court affordable for everyone in Chatham County. The Magistrate Court serves the area of Chatham County which encompasses the City of Savannah and other municipalities including Bloomingdale, Garden City, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Thunderbolt, and Tybee Island.

Magistrate Court's jurisdiction includes civil claims of $15,000.00 or less, dispossessory proceedings (landlord/tenant), applications for and the issuance of arrest and/or search warrants and preliminary hearings. The Magistrate Court does not hold jury trials and is not a court of record. Any appeals from judgments in civil cases are made to the Superior and State Courts.

This web site has been designed to provide citizens with the most current and convenient information available regarding the process and procedures in the Magistrate court. We hope you will find this website to be a useful and convenient tool in obtaining information.

All in-person proceedings in civil cases are being scheduled on a limited basis; however, the Court is allowing parties and witnesses to participate in virtual hearings/trials. As these are trying times, the Court expects all parties to exercise the utmost professionalism in their dealings with others.

Small Claims

Small claims are civil matters where an individual or company is seeking compensation for the violation of a private legal right or for damages against an individual or entity. A small claim can result in a judgment for the plaintiff (the person bringing the action) or the defendant (the person the action is being filed against). A small claim can also result in the dismissal of the claim. There are numerous types of small claims including, but not limited to suit on account, suit on a note, suit on a debt, petition in trover and suit for damages.

Once a small claim has been filed, the defendant has thirty (30) days from the date of service to file an answer with the court plus an additional fifteen (15) days to open the default. If the defendant does not file an answer, the plaintiff is responsible for contacting the court after the forty-sixth (46th) day to request a default judgment or hearing.

Dispossessory Warrant

The Magistrate Court has jurisdiction to hear landlord-tenant disputes which includes dispossessory proceedings. A Dispossessory Warrant is an action a landlord can file when seeking possession of the leased premises. Once a Writ of Possession has been issued/obtained a landlord can proceed with the eviction process to have the tenant removed from the property.

Once a tenant has been served with the Dispossessory Warrant, the tenant has seven (7) days from the date of service to file an answer with our court. If the tenant does not file an answer an eviction may be requested on the eighth (8th) day. If the tenant does file an answer a court date will be set and the plaintiff will be notified by mail of the court date. Once a writ of possession is issued, an eviction must be requested within thirty (30) days of the date of service or a new dispossessory warrant must be filed.