Chattanooga’s People’s Court

Did you know that we have a People’s Court here in Chattanooga? Well, not exactly like the popular television show with Judge Wapner. The Chattanooga Small Claims Court, formally known as the Hamilton County General Sessions Court is run by a team of judges: Judge Bales, Judge Sells, Judge Shattuck, Judge Starnes and Judge Statom.

What is Small Claims / General Sessions Court For?

In Hamilton County, Tennessee, our General Sessions Court is for small claims and civil disputes of less than $25,000.00. These courts are generally referred to as “the people’s court” because the ordinary layman can appear without having to pay for a lawyer or legal representation. 

For example, if you have a dispute with somebody over a breach of contract, you should file for your case to be heard and reviewed by a judge in General Sessions Court, as long as the amount is less than $25,000.00.

Another example of a case that would be heard in General Sessions Court is if you think that someone owes you money. This case should also be filed in the General Sessions Court, as long as the amount in the dispute is less than $25,000.00.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Sue Someone in General Sessions Court?

It is not essential or mandatory that you hire a lawyer or attorney to represent you if you wish to sue somebody and if you file your case in Hamilton County General Sessions Court. However, you can choose to hire a lawyer to represent your legal interests during court proceedings and to help you prepare your case prior to the hearing. 

How Do I Know if My Case is Eligible to be Heard in General Sessions Court?

The General Sessions Court hears a wide variety of cases and sometimes it can be tricky to determine if your specific situation meets those requirements. If you have any questions about whether or not you can file your case in General Sessions Court, you should contact the clerks in General Sessions Court office. They will be able to answer any questions you may have. You can contact the General Sessions Court Clerk’s Office at (423) 209-7630.

What is the Difference between General Sessions Court and Circuit Court?

In Hamilton County, Tennessee, the Circuit Court handles cases that involve a jury or civil cases that involve monetary amounts greater than $25,000. If you have submitted your case to the General Sessions Court and lost your case. You then have ten (10) days to appeal your case, which would then be heard by the Circuit Court. 

Do You Want an Attorney on Your Side for Your Civil Case?

If you have any questions about whether or not you should file your case in Hamilton County General Sessions Court or if you have already filed your case and you would like legal representation, do not hesitate to email C. Mark Warren at or call our office at (423) 265-HURT (4878). Warren & Griffin is a well-established local law firm headquartered in Chattanooga, TN and we have experience in getting our clients the compensation that they deserve!