- Magistrate Court
The 1983 Constitution of Georgia provided for a uniform Magistrate Court System throughout the State to replace what was formally known as justice of the peace and small claims courts. These newly formed Magistrate Courts allowed ordinary citizens to represent themselves without the help of an attorney. There are forms and instruction sheets available to the public for all actions and services provided by Magistrate Court.
Magistrate Court works just like State or Superior Court in that it is not a collection agency nor can it help determine the financial circumstances of the defendant. Civil claims up to $15,000 to include Garnishments and foreclosures on personal property are handled in Magistrate Court. Landlord/Tenant cases called Dispossessories are handled regardless of dollar amount. Magistrate Court also handles:
- Abandoned Motor Vehicles
- Arrest Warrant Hearings
- Bad Check Warrants
- Bond Hearings
- County Ordinance Violations
- Good Behavior Bonds
The Magistrate Court Office has five (5) Full-time Deputy Clerks, (1) Part-time Clerk, and four (4) Part-Time Magistrates, and the Chief Magistrate. There is a Magistrate on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year to be available for Law Enforcement if search warrants or arrest warrants are necessary.
Locations for Services
Criminal matters are filed in the Magistrate Court Office located in the Liberty County Justice Center Building, 201 South Main Street, Suite 2100, Hinesville, GA 31313, or at the Liberty County Regional Jail. Our courtroom is located on the Second (2nd ) floor of the Justice Center Building where civil and criminal cases are heard; arrest warrants and bond hearings are also handled at the Justice Center and at the jail.
Civil actions are filed in the Superior Court Clerk's Office where Ms. Linda Dixon Thompson is the Clerk of Courts. Ms. Dixon Thompson also serves as the Magistrate Court Clerk; her office is located on the First (1st) floor of the Liberty County Justice Center Building, 201 South Main Street, Suite 1200, Hinesville, GA 31313.
Civil Claims and Dispossessories can be filed in person, by mail, and online through Magistrate Court Civil E-Filing.
Landlord Tenant Resources
There are both state and local resources that are available to tenants who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability. One such program is the State of Georgia Rental Assistance Program which is administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. This Program provides relief to individuals, families and landlords whose finances have been negatively impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible applicants can receive up to 18 months of payment relief for past due rent and utilities, as well as the potential to obtain recertification for future payments within that 18 month period. Apply at georgiarentalassistance.ga.gov or call 833-827-7368.
For more information regarding the Georgia Rental Assistance Program, please click HERE to view a video provided by the Ga Judicial Council Access to Justice Committee, the Council of Magistrate Court Judges and the Georgia Department of Community Health.
Please refer to the Guidelines for Clerks (PDF) for understanding of what a clerk may or may not do to assist a party.
Legal aid services are available to low income individuals and eligible senior citizens. On the first Friday of each month, from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM a lawyer with the Georgia Legal Services Program will be available, by appointment only, in the Jury Assembly Room located in the Liberty County Justice Center Building, 201 South Main Street, Hinesville, GA 31313, to give free information and advice on various matters. To make an appointment, call 1-833-457-7529.
The information and forms available on this website are not intended as legal advice and should not be considered as such; they are provided for reference only. Consult an attorney for legal advice.