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Franklin County Hall of Justice
345 South High Street, 1st Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 525-3621
Hours: Monday - Friday
8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

The Civil Section is responsible for the legal documents and payments filed in civil cases in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. A civil case is different from a criminal case in that civil cases seek to enforce or protect the private rights of individuals. Most wrongs involving civil complaints are compensable by money damages, but in special situations the Court may issue orders forbidding an individual from taking certain actions or commanding an individual to fulfill an obligation. Complaints or notices of appeal from a decision rendered by the State or County government are also filed in the Civil Section (unless statute dictates the case is to be filed with the Court of Appeals).

When the action is filed, a judge and a case number are assigned, and a summons is issued to be served upon the defendants when required, and the Clerk will collect the appropriate filing fees as determined by the fee schedule set by law. After the case has commenced, all subsequent pleadings are also filed with the Civil Section.

The Clerk's Civil Section can facilitate enforcement of a civil judgment at the request of the prevailing party. Examples of procedures to enforce judgments are:

Certificate of Judgment Lien -
Official notification, rendered by the Court, that a lien upon the defendant's property has been issued.
Writ of Execution -
An order of the court authorizing seizure of real and/or personal property.
Garnishment -
Procedure allowing a creditor to collect their judgment directly from the defendant's wages, bank account, or other sources such as income tax refunds.

The Clerk maintains the records for the Court of Common Pleas. The record includes the docket and the index of all litigants involved in a civil action. These are public records available for inspection during normal office hours.

Civil Filings

The Records Room serves as public access for current and past civil and criminal case histories. Computer terminals are available to access Court docket activity and judgments. Case files and microfiche records are maintained in this location to allow for document viewing and copying.

Other duties and services include:

Registration of Notary Public Commissions

The State of Ohio issues Notary Public Commissions; applications and instructions for taking the test to become a Notary Public may be obtained by contacting the Columbus Bar Association. Before performing any official duties, the Notary must record and file the commission with the Clerk of Court in his or her county of residence. In Franklin County, the commission may be recorded at the Civil Section office or at any of the Auto Title branches. Visit our Notary page for details.

Passport Agents

The Franklin County Clerk of Courts is authorized to process applications on behalf of the United States Passport Services. You can obtain a passport application from the Clerk's office. Return the completed form, along with proof of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate or an acceptable substitute), proof of identity (previous passport, driver's license) and two passport photographs.

If the proof of identity, citizenship evidence, and the two passport photographs are in order, upon payment of the fees, this office will forward the documents to Passport Services. You will receive your passport by mail from Passport Services. See our Passport page for more information.