District of Columbia Rules of Civil Procedure

In the District of Columbia, Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure lay down the rules that should be followed in all suits of a civil nature in the Civil Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.  In the District of Columbia, a civil action commences with the filing of complaint with the Court.  A party who commences the action is called the plaintiff, and the opposite party is called the defendant.  Once a complaint is filed, the court clerk will issue the required summons to the defendant(s). A civil action can be classified into various stages that include: pleading stage, discovery stage, trial stage, and judgment stage. 

Different types of pleadings in  the District of Columbia courts are: Complaint, Answer to Complaint, Counter claim, Reply to counterclaim, Cross claim, Reply to cross claim, Third party complaint and Third party answer.  A complaint should be filed by the real party in interest.  If the real party in interest is a minor or incompetent person, the person’s representative should file the complaint.  If a minor or incompetent person does not have a representative, s/he may file the action through a next friend or a guardian ad litem.  The courts, if found necessary will appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the minor or incompetent person.

Parties may obtain discovery by:

  • depositions upon oral examination or written questions;
  • written interrogatories;
  • requests for admission;
  • request for production of documents or things;
  • request for permission to enter into land or other property for inspection or other purpose; and/or
  • request for physical and mental examinations.

After the commencement of the action but not later than ten days after the service of the last pleading directed to such issue, a party may demand for trial by jury.  A judgment is passed after trial.  The judgment includes a decree or an order upon which an appeal is permissible.  Generally, cost of litigation is adjudged to the prevailing party.

District of Columbia Rules of Civil Procedure




Inside District of Columbia Rules of Civil Procedure