Small Claims Court in Fairfax County

In Fairfax County, VA small claims cases are filed in the general district court. Fairfax County has one general district court that handles small claims, serving different jurisdictions.

Squabble is here to assist you in navigating the small claims court system and filing a claim with ease. We recognize that not everyone is a legal expert, and our goal is to simplify the process for you. This guide will answer your questions about filing claims in the Fairfax Court System.

Small Claims Court

Fairfax County, Virginia; the Small Claims cases can be initiated in two ways depending on the nature of the dispute:

  • Warrant in Debt: This method is used when the plaintiff seeks a money judgment of $5,000 or less.
  • Warrant in Detinue: This method applies when the plaintiff seeks the return of specific personal property valued at $5,000 or less.

Small Claims court is exclusively for individuals representing themselves (pro se litigants); neither party can have legal representation. The plaintiff, who may represent themselves or act on behalf of a corporation or partnership as an employee, must complete the necessary forms (Code of Virginia 16.1-122.1 through 16.1-122.7).

It's important to note that Small Claims Court does not handle unlawful detainer or eviction actions concerning real property. For such cases, unlawful detainer actions are filed separately as Civil Actions.

Cases Handled

Small Claims Court handles a range of cases, including:

  • Breach of a written or oral contract.
  • Return of a down payment.
  • Property damage from a motor vehicle accident.
  • Damage to or loss of property.
  • Consumer complaints regarding defective merchandise or faulty workmanship.
  • Payment for services rendered.
  • Claims involving bad checks.
  • Claims for unpaid rent.
  • Return of a tenant's security deposit, limited to $5,000 or less.

These types of cases are typically suited for Small Claims Court due to their lower monetary limits and the simplified procedures designed to allow individuals to represent themselves without formal legal representation.

Filing a Claim

You can file your case in Fairfax County General District Court either in-person or by mail, following specific guidelines and procedures:

In-Person Filings:

  • Location: Civil Division Clerk's Office, Room 211.
  • Forms: You can either print out the required forms and bring them with you, or obtain forms from the Clerk's Office.
  • Legal Advice: Clerks can provide procedural guidance (e.g., where to put someone's name), but they cannot offer legal advice or suggest specific forms or methods.
  • Filing Fees: Payment is due at the time of filing. Details on required forms and fees can be found on the Filing Forms and Fees page.

By-Mail Filings:

  • Address: Fairfax County General District Court, Civil Division, Room 211, Fairfax, VA 22030.
  • Forms: Ensure all required forms are included with your filing. If forms are deficient, they will be returned with an explanation of the issues.
  • Payment: Include a check or money order for the appropriate filing fees. If the filing is deficient after fees have been received, you'll receive a receipt and instructions for correction.
  • Requirements: All guidelines applicable to in-person filings must also be followed for mail submissions.

Additional Guidelines:

  • Booking a Date/Time: Before filing, call the Clerk's Office at 703-246-3012 to schedule an available date and time for your filing. You cannot increase your case count after scheduling.
  • Court Calendar: Once scheduled, your filing will be held on the court's calendar. Filings are processed upon receipt, and service must not occur more than 60 days in advance of the court date.
  • Cancellation: Unused reserved slots must be canceled at least 8 weeks prior to the court date.


In small claims cases in Fairfax County, there is a limit on the number of new cases that can be set for any one day on the Small Claims Docket. Specifically, no party is allowed to set more than five new cases returnable to the court on a single day.

This limitation helps to manage the workload and scheduling of cases, ensuring that each case can receive adequate attention and timely resolution within the court's resources. It also aims to prevent overcrowding of the docket, which could potentially delay proceedings and impact the fairness and efficiency of small claims court operations.

Service the Defendant

In Fairfax County, Virginia's General District Court, service of process is typically handled by the sheriff within their jurisdiction or by a private process server within the state. Key points include:

  1. Timing of Service: Service of a warrant must occur between 60 days and 5 days before the return day. For Unlawful Detainer cases, service must occur at least 10 days before the return day.
  2. Out-of-State Defendants: Service on out-of-state defendants can be accomplished via certified mail through the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Allow at least 6 weeks for the return date.
  3. Types of Service: Most civil processes can be served by a private process server. However, specific processes like Writs of Eviction, Levy, or Capias must be served by a sheriff.
  4. Service Requirements: The Code of Virginia (§8.01-296) dictates the manner of service, and §8.01-325 specifies how the return of service should be made to the Clerk's Office.
  5. Return of Service: A private process server must use the state form "Service Other Than by Virginia Sheriff" (form DC-411) and return it to the Clerk's Office within 72 hours of service, following a progressive order similar to the sheriff's return.

Dismissal Small Claim Case

In Fairfax County Civil/Small Claims Division, requests for dismissal or non-suit of a pending case can be made using several methods:

  1. Forms Accepted:
    • Request for Court Action – Civil/Small Claims Division form
    • Plaintiff's praecipe
    • Endorsed order
    • Sufficient proof of consent of all parties involved
  2. Conditions for Non-Suit or Dismissal:
    • The plaintiff may request a non-suit or dismissal of the case, provided notice is given to the defendant and there is no pending counter-claim.
    • If the request is received at least 4 days before the court date, either on the Request for Court Action form or as an order, the case will be removed from the court's docket.
    • If received later, the request will proceed to court on the scheduled date.
  3. Subsequent Non-Suit:
    • Notice of a second or subsequent non-suit requires a motion with notice sent to the defendant.
    • This notice must specify the dates and locations of any previous non-suits concerning the case.
  4. Responsibility for Notice:
    • The party requesting court action (non-suit or dismissal) is responsible for providing notice to the other party involved.

These procedures ensure that requests for non-suit or dismissal are handled appropriately and that all parties are informed in accordance with legal requirements. It's crucial to adhere to these guidelines to maintain the integrity and efficiency of court proceedings in Fairfax County.


In Fairfax County Civil Court, procedures for requesting continuances are structured as follows:

  1. Submission Requirements:
    • All requests for continuances must be submitted in writing.
    • The court's Request for Court Action Form is available and can be used for this purpose.
  2. Timing and Approval Process:
    • First Continuance:* If the request is the first agreed continuance from the regular or trial docket and is received at least 4 business days before the court date, it will be forwarded to chambers. The case will be continued pending availability of the chosen date.
    • Second or Subsequent Continuances: Agreed requests received at least 4 business days before the court date will also be forwarded to chambers for approval or denial before the court date.
      • The court retains discretion to approve or deny continuance requests. If denied, the case remains on the original docketed date.
  3. Late Requests: If an agreed continuance request is not received at least 4 business days in advance, it will be included with the case on the upcoming court date. The judge will then decide on the continuance request during the court proceedings.
  4. Long Trial Docket: Continuance requests for cases set on the Long Trial Docket, whether agreed or opposed, require a personal appearance in open court after a written motion. This must be done with at least five days' notice to the court and all parties or counsel involved. Continuances on this docket are granted only for good cause shown.
  5. Disputed Continuances: Requests for continuances without agreement from all parties require a judge's approval, also after a written motion with at least five days' notice to the court and all involved parties or counsel. If disputed requests are not noticed for a hearing, they will be decided on the court date.
  6. Small Claims: In Small Claims cases, trials are typically scheduled for the initial return date. Continuances before this date may be granted if an available date provided by the clerk's office is agreed upon by all parties. Otherwise, continuances without full agreement may be granted for good cause shown.


In Fairfax County, Virginia, the filing fees for small claims court cases are structured as follows:

  • For lawsuits over $200:
    • Filing fee: $26
    • Additional fee per defendant: $12
  • For lawsuits of $200 or less:
    • Filing fee: $21
    • Additional fee per defendant: $12

These fees cover the initial costs of filing your lawsuit in small claims court. If you are successful in your case and receive a judgment in your favor, the judgment typically includes reimbursement for your filing and service fees.

It's important to note that these fees may be subject to change, so it's advisable to check with the Fairfax County General District Court or their official website for the most current fee schedule and any specific requirements related to small claims court filings.

In Fairfax County General District Court, the procedures and costs for obtaining copies are outlined as follows:

  • Costs:
    • Copies cost 50 cents per page for documents exceeding 10 pages.
    • Single copies of civil judgments, criminal charging documents, or traffic charging documents are provided free of charge to certain parties: civil parties, counsel of record, defendants, prosecutors, public defenders, and law enforcement officers.
  • Restrictions:
    • Copies cannot be made on the court date of the case.
    • Documents are available for copying after they have been reviewed in chambers.
  • Request Procedures:
    • Requests for more than five copies at a time require a written request to be processed by the clerk's office.
    • Larger requests involving multiple cases are typically processed within two to five business days.
    • Unusual or labor-intensive requests may be referred to Court Administration.
  • Delivery Options:
    • Copies can be provided via mail or picked up in person.
    • For copies to be mailed, a self-addressed stamped envelope must be provided.
  • Certified Copies:
    • Certified copies of orders are not provided without a self-addressed stamped envelope accompanying the request.
    • Parties are advised against requesting language in orders that obligates the Clerk to forward copies unless a self-addressed stamped envelope is provided.

These guidelines ensure that parties receive copies of court documents efficiently while managing costs and administrative resources effectively in Fairfax County General District Court.


The Fairfax County Small Claims Court offers a Mediation Program facilitated by Northern Virginia Mediation Service (NVMS). Here are the key details about the program:

  • Purpose of Mediation:
    • Mediation is a voluntary process where impartial and trained mediators assist parties in finding a mutually acceptable solution to their dispute.
    • It is available at no charge when used in Fairfax County courts.
  • Mediation Process:
    • Mediation must be agreed to by all parties involved.
    • Representatives from NVMS are present in the courtroom to explain the mediation procedure before court proceedings begin.
    • If mediation is requested and agreed upon, the judge will pause the case while the parties and the mediator attempt to resolve the dispute outside the courtroom.
    • After the mediation session, whether successful or not, the parties return to the courtroom.
  • Successful Mediation:
    • If mediation results in an agreement, the parties return to the courtroom with an agreed order for the judge to sign.
    • Mediated agreements signed by a judge are binding and enforceable in court.
    • Either party can later file a motion with the Clerk's Office to dissolve the mediated agreement and reschedule the case for trial, if necessary.
  • Unsuccessful Mediation:
    • If parties in mediation are unable to reach an agreement, the case will proceed to be heard by a judge as originally scheduled.
  • Contact Information:
    • Parties can contact NVMS directly at 703-865-7272 or email before their court date to obtain information or services related to mediation.

This mediation program provides an alternative to traditional courtroom proceedings, aiming to facilitate resolution in a collaborative and constructive manner for civil and small claims disputes in Fairfax County.

Assignment of Judgment

In Fairfax General District Court, the process for Assignments of Judgment involves these key steps:

  1. Request for Entry: File a Praecipe referencing the original case number and names of the Plaintiff and Defendant.
  2. Notice to Defendant: Certify that a copy of the Praecipe and attached Assignment has been sent to the defendant.
  3. Signature Requirements: The Praecipe must be signed by an attorney or an authorized business representative.
  4. Contents of the Assignment: Include names and addresses of the Assignor and Assignee, case details, original judgment date, amount owed, and payment status.
  5. Court Acceptance: Once accepted, all future filings are in the name of the Assignee, who will also receive any enforcement orders.
  6. Substitution of Counsel: Ensure compliance with substitution of counsel rules if new representation is involved.

These steps ensure proper documentation and legal recognition of the assignment, facilitating effective enforcement of judgments in the court.

Satisfaction of Judgment

Under Fairfax County, VA law, once a judgment is satisfied:

  1. Notification of Satisfaction:
    • The judgment creditor must notify the court in writing within 30 days using Form DC-458 available online or at the Clerk’s Office.
    • Failure to notify allows the judgment debtor to file a Motion for Judgment to be Marked Satisfied (Form DC-459) if the creditor fails to notify within the 30-day period.
    • The court may order the creditor to pay costs and attorney’s fees related to the motion.
  2. Alternative Payment Process:
    • If the judgment debtor cannot locate the creditor, payment can be made to a court of record.
    • This involves obtaining an abstract of judgment from the General District Court, paying fees to the Circuit Court, and filing a motion to deposit the amount into an interest-bearing account.
    • A certified copy of the Circuit Court order must be provided to the General District Court.
  3. Driver’s License Reinstatement:
    • If a judgment causes a driver's license suspension and the creditor cannot be found, debtors can file Form DC-472 to petition for reinstatement.
    • The debtor must prove attempts to locate the creditor and pay the judgment amount into court, including costs and interest.

These procedures ensure compliance with Virginia law regarding judgment satisfaction, creditor notification, and driver's license reinstatement issues.

Courthouses Location:

Fairfax County General District Court

4110 Chain Bridge Rd
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 246-3012


  • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., except court holidays.

Let Squabble Help You With Your Small Claim at Fairfax County

Don't allow the intricacies of the legal system to discourage you from pursuing justice and compensation for your claim. With Squabble, you have a dedicated partner to streamline the process and guide you toward resolution. Whether you're contemplating filing a claim at Fairfax County small claims court, Squabble is here to support you at every stage. Reach out to us today to commence your journey toward justice and compensation. Get started today and become one of the 95% of our customers who won or settled their case.

Terms of UseTerms of Privacy

© 2023 Squabble International, Inc. Patent Pending. All Rights Reserved.