CHAPTER 870

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

Table of Contents

Sec. 51-14. Rules of court. Disapproval of rules by General Assembly. Hearings.

Sec. 51-15. *(See end of section for amended version of subsection (d) and effective date.) Rules of procedure in certain civil actions. Small claims.


Sec. 51-14. Rules of court. Disapproval of rules by General Assembly. Hearings. (a) The judges of the Supreme Court, the judges of the Appellate Court, and the judges of the Superior Court shall adopt and promulgate and may from time to time modify or repeal rules and forms regulating pleading, practice and procedure in judicial proceedings in courts in which they have the constitutional authority to make rules, for the purpose of simplifying proceedings in the courts and of promoting the speedy and efficient determination of litigation upon its merits. The rules of the Appellate Court shall be as consistent as feasible with the rules of the Supreme Court to promote uniformity in the procedure for the taking of appeals and may dispense, so far as justice to the parties will permit while affording a fair review, with the necessity of printing of records and briefs. Such rules shall not abridge, enlarge or modify any substantive right or the jurisdiction of any of the courts. Such rules shall become effective on such date as the judges specify but not in any event until sixty days after such promulgation, except that such rules may become effective prior to the expiration of the sixty-day time period if the judges deem that circumstances require that a new rule or a change to an existing rule be adopted expeditiously.

(b) All statutes relating to pleading, practice and procedure in existence on July 1, 1957, shall be deemed to be rules of court and shall remain in effect as such only until modified, superseded or suspended by rules adopted and promulgated by the judges of the Supreme Court or the Superior Court pursuant to the provisions of this section. The Chief Justice shall report any such rules to the General Assembly for study at the beginning of each regular session. Such rules shall be referred by the speaker of the House or by the president of the Senate to the judiciary committee for its consideration and such committee shall schedule hearings thereon. Any rule or any part thereof disapproved by the General Assembly by resolution shall be void and of no effect and a copy of such resolution shall thereafter be published once in the Connecticut Law Journal.

(c) The judges or a committee of their number shall hold public hearings, of which reasonable notice shall be given in the Connecticut Law Journal and otherwise as they deem proper, upon any proposed new rule or any change in an existing rule that is to come before said judges for action, and each such proposed new rule or change in an existing rule shall be published in the Connecticut Law Journal as a part of such notice. A public hearing shall be held at least once a year, of which reasonable notice shall likewise be given, at which any member of the bar or layman may bring to the attention of the judges any new rule or change in an existing rule that he deems desirable.

(d) Upon the taking effect of such rules adopted and promulgated by the judges of the Supreme Court pursuant to the provisions of this section, all provisions of rules theretofore promulgated by the judges of the Superior Court shall be deemed to be repealed.

(1953, 1955, S. 3129d; 1955, S. 3130d; 1957, P.A. 651, S. 27; P.A. 76-436, S. 48, 681; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 83-29, S. 9, 82; P.A. 07-217, S. 186; P.A. 21-104, S. 38.)

History: P.A. 76-436 amended section to extend power to adopt and modify rules, etc. to superior court judges and added Subsec. (e) re rules to effectuate transfer of jurisdiction, effective July 1, 1978; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 83-29 included reference to judges of appellate court, added provision re rules of appellate court and deleted provisions of Subsec. (e) re rules necessary for transfer of jurisdiction pursuant to Sec. 51-164s; P.A. 07-217 made technical changes in Subsec. (a), effective July 12, 2007; P.A. 21-104 amended Subsec. (a) to delete provision re being subject to Subsec. (b) and add provision re effective date of rules when circumstances require adoption of rules expeditiously, effective June 28, 2021.

Sec. 51-15. *(See end of section for amended version of subsection (d) and effective date.) Rules of procedure in certain civil actions. Small claims. (a) In accordance with the provisions of section 51-14, the judges of the Superior Court shall make such orders and rules as they deem necessary or advisable concerning the commencement of process and procedure in flowage petitions, parentage proceedings, replevin, summary process, habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, ne exeat, quo warranto, forcible entry and detainer, peaceable entry and forcible detainer, for paying rewards, and for the hearing and determination of small claims, including suitable forms of procedure in such cases, exclusive of fees.

(b) The judges of the Superior Court shall adopt orders and rules for the hearing and determination of small claims that shall include: (1) Provisions for the institution of small claims actions by attorneys-at-law on suitable forms to be served by a proper officer or indifferent person upon the defendant in the same manner as complaints are served in civil actions; (2) notice by mail; (3) provisions for the early hearing of actions and rules for hearings in accordance with sections 51-193t and 52-549a, and the elimination of any and all fees or costs, except a fee for small claims procedure as prescribed in section 52-259; (4) modification of any or all existing rules of pleading, practice and evidence; and (5) a stay of the entry of judgment or of the issuance of execution and an alternative procedure according to the usual rules of practice. Such orders and rules shall permit the institution of a small claims action against a nonresident defendant who owns real or personal property in this state and against an out-of-state corporation.

(c) Upon the taking effect of such orders and rules, all provisions of statute, both public and private, and the provisions of any orders or rules adopted by the judges of the Superior Court prior to July 1, 1957, inconsistent with or superseded by them, shall be deemed to be repealed, to the extent necessary to render the orders and rules effective.

*(d) The procedure for the hearing and determination of small claims as the same may be prescribed, from time to time, by the judges of the Superior Court shall be used in all small claims sessions of the court. The small claims procedure shall be applicable to all actions, except actions of libel and slander, claiming money damages not in excess of five thousand dollars, and to no other actions. If an action is brought in the small claims session by a tenant pursuant to subsection (g) of section 47a-21 to reclaim any part of a security deposit which may be due, the judicial authority hearing the action may award to the tenant the damages authorized by subsection (d) of said section and, if authorized by the rental agreement or any provision of the general statutes, costs, notwithstanding that the amount of such damages and costs, in the aggregate, exceeds the jurisdictional monetary limit established by this subsection. If a motion is filed to transfer a small claims matter to the regular docket in the court, the moving party shall pay the fee prescribed by section 52-259. The Attorney General or an assistant attorney general, or the head of any state agency or his or her authorized representative, while acting in his or her official capacity shall not be required to pay any small claims court fee. There shall be no charge for copies of service on defendants in small claims matters.

(1949 Rev., S. 7656; 1955, S. 3117d; 1957, P.A. 651, S. 33; 1959, P.A. 28, S. 74; 1963, P.A. 242; 1969, P.A. 777, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 870, S. 4; 1972, P.A. 281, S. 25; P.A. 74-183, S. 16, 291; P.A. 75-548; P.A. 76-298, S. 1, 6; 76-368, S. 7, 9; 76-436, S. 49, 681; P.A. 77-614, S. 133, 610; P.A. 81-129, S. 1; 81-472, S. 109, 159; P.A. 82-248, S. 9; 82-472, S. 133, 183; P.A. 83-295, S. 4; 83-577, S. 2; P.A. 85-256; 85-464, S. 5; P.A. 86-199; P.A. 89-53; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-6, S. 71, 117; P.A. 93-297, S. 4, 29; P.A. 95-36; P.A. 00-94; P.A. 01-195, S. 50, 181; P.A. 02-132, S. 73; P.A. 05-42, S. 1; P.A. 13-194, S. 7; P.A. 21-15, S. 142.)

*Note: On and after July 1, 2022, subsection (d) of this section, as amended by section 13 of public act 21-197, is to read as follows:

“(d) The procedure for the hearing and determination of small claims as the same may be prescribed, from time to time, by the judges of the Superior Court shall be used in all small claims sessions of the court. The small claims procedure shall only be applicable to (1) all actions claiming money damages not in excess of five thousand dollars, except such procedure shall not be applicable to actions of libel and slander, and (2) actions claiming loss or damages not in excess of fifteen thousand dollars sustained by reason of (A) performance of, or offer to perform, home improvement, as defined in section 20-419, by a contractor holding a certificate under chapter 400, or (B) a contract for new home construction with a new home construction contractor holding a certificate under chapter 399a. If an action is brought in the small claims session by a tenant pursuant to subsection (g) of section 47a-21 to reclaim any part of a security deposit which may be due, the judicial authority hearing the action may award to the tenant the damages authorized by subsection (d) of said section and, if authorized by the rental agreement or any provision of the general statutes, costs, notwithstanding that the amount of such damages and costs, in the aggregate, exceeds the jurisdictional monetary limit established by subdivision (1) of this subsection. If a motion is filed to transfer a small claims matter to the regular docket in the court, the moving party shall pay the fee prescribed by section 52-259. The Attorney General or an assistant attorney general, or the head of any state agency or his or her authorized representative, while acting in his or her official capacity shall not be required to pay any small claims court fee. There shall be no charge for copies of service on defendants in small claims matters.”

(1949 Rev., S. 7656; 1955, S. 3117d; 1957, P.A. 651, S. 33; 1959, P.A. 28, S. 74; 1963, P.A. 242; 1969, P.A. 777, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 870, S. 4; 1972, P.A. 281, S. 25; P.A. 74-183, S. 16, 291; P.A. 75-548; P.A. 76-298, S. 1, 6; 76-368, S. 7, 9; 76-436, S. 49, 681; P.A. 77-614, S. 133, 610; P.A. 81-129, S. 1; 81-472, S. 109, 159; P.A. 82-248, S. 9; 82-472, S. 133, 183; P.A. 83-295, S. 4; 83-577, S. 2; P.A. 85-256; 85-464, S. 5; P.A. 86-199; P.A. 89-53; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-6, S. 71, 117; P.A. 93-297, S. 4, 29; P.A. 95-36; P.A. 00-94; P.A. 01-195, S. 50, 181; P.A. 02-132, S. 73; P.A. 05-42, S. 1; P.A. 13-194, S. 7; P.A. 21-15, S. 142; 21-197, S. 13.)

History: 1959 act amended second sentence by deleting trial by jury provision and amended fourth sentence by substituting small claims sessions of circuit court for municipal courts and justice courts having small claims divisions; 1963 act amended second sentence by requiring provisions authorizing institution of actions on forms served at least 10 days prior to session, return to be made at least 6 days prior to session; 1969 act imposed $3 fee for small claims procedure and exempted Attorney General or assistant attorneys general from paying fee when acting in his or their official capacity; 1971 act changed limit on money damage claims included in small claims procedure from $250 to $750, effective September 1, 1971; 1972 act raised fee for small claims procedure to $5 and added provisions re fee for transferring small claims matter to regular docket and re absence of charge for copies of service on defendants in small claims matters, effective September 1, 1972; P.A. 74-183 replaced circuit court with court of common pleas and specified that fee for small claims procedure may not be eliminated, effective December 31, 1974; P.A. 75-548 specified that director of central collections division of department of finance and control and his authorized representative are exempt from payment of fee; P.A. 76-298 included rules for hearings in accordance with Sec. 52-549a; P.A. 76-368 raised fee for small claims procedure to $6; P.A. 76-436 transferred powers formerly held by supreme court to superior court and jurisdiction of small claims matters from court of common pleas to superior court, effective July 1, 1978; P.A. 77-614 replaced director of central collections division of department of finance and control with commissioner of administrative services in provision re exemptions from payment of small claims fee; P.A. 81-129 increased the fee for small claims procedure from $8 to $10 and increased the jurisdictional limit for small claims matters from $750 to $1,000; P.A. 81-472 made the technical correction of increasing the fee for small claims procedure from $6 to $8 to conform to the increase in such fee made in Sec. 52-259 by P.A. 80-387; P.A. 82-248 changed fee for small claims procedure from $8 to $10, and changed reference to “civil cause” to “civil action”; P.A. 82-472 reiterated fee increase enacted by P.A. 82-248; P.A. 83-295 replaced the provision that the fee for transferring a small claims matter to the regular docket is the “same fee as is paid for entering a civil action” with “the fee prescribed by section 52-259”; P.A. 83-577 inserted Subsec. indicators, amended Subsec. (b) to replace the fee for small claims procedure of $10 with the fee “as prescribed in section 52-259” and reiterated amendment to Subsec. (d) made by P.A. 83-295; P.A. 85-256 amended Subsec. (b) to require the orders and rules to permit a small claims action against a nonresident defendant who owns real or personal property in this state and against an out-of-state corporation and amended Subsec. (d) to increase the jurisdictional limit for small claims matters from $1,000 to $1,500; P.A. 85-464 amended Subsec. (b) by adding reference to hearings in accordance with Sec. 51-193t; P.A. 86-199 amended Subsec. (d) by replacing the “commissioner of administrative services” with the “head of any state agency” in provision re exemption from payment of court fee; P.A. 89-53 amended Subsec. (d) to increase the jurisdictional limit for small claims matters from $1,500 to $2,000; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-6 amended Subsec. (d) to require payment of the fee prescribed in Sec. 52-259 if a motion is filed, instead of granted, to transfer a small claims matter to the regular docket; P.A. 93-297 amended Subsec. (a) to authorize the making of orders and rules for cases filed on and after January 1, 1994, which are expedited process cases and added Subsec. (e) to specify mandatory provisions of such orders and rules and require all expedited process cases to be heard by a judge of the superior court, effective January 1, 1994; P.A. 95-36 amended Subsec. (d) to increase jurisdictional limit for small claims matters from $2,000 to $2,500; P.A. 00-94 amended Subsec. (d) to increase jurisdictional monetary limit for small claims matters to $3,500 and to add exception to such limit for action brought by tenant to reclaim any part of security deposit who may be awarded damages and costs in excess of such limit; P.A. 01-195 made technical changes in Subsec. (d) for purposes of gender neutrality, effective July 11, 2001; P.A. 02-132 amended Subsec. (b) by deleting provisions re time periods for service and return, commencement of actions without writ or pleading and commencement of actions without payment of fees with respect to small claims actions and by making technical changes; P.A. 05-42 amended Subsec. (d) to increase jurisdictional monetary limit for small claims matters from $3,500 to $5,000; P.A. 13-194 amended Subsec. (a) and deleted former Subsec. (e) to eliminate provisions re expedited process cases pursuant to Sec. 52-195b(b)(2); P.A. 21-15 amended Subsec. (a) by replacing “paternity” with “parentage”, effective January 1, 2022; P.A. 21-197 amended Subsec. (d) by designating existing provision as Subdiv. (1) and adding new Subdiv. (2) re actions claiming loss or damage not in excess of $15,000 re performance of home improvement or new home construction contracts and making technical changes, effective July 1, 2022.