D.C. Superior Court launches new online chat for civil division

D.C. Superior Court officials on Tuesday announced a new online Web chat feature where court users can ask questions of court employees about their cases within the civil division.

Individuals with cases in small claims court (involving disputes of $5,000 or less), landlord and tenant, and civil actions ( involving disputes of more than $5,000) can access the various Web chats through the court’s main Web site.

The chat was created for the civil cases, which are often tried by individuals who don’t have attorneys. However, court officials said the employees on the other end of the chat, will not be able to give legal advice to questioners about their case. Instead, the employees can answer such questions as the status of their pleading, directions to probate court and other general court process questions. Questions can still be asked via telephone or in person.

The civil division chats will be staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Chats within civil action will only be staffed in the mornings, 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

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Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.
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