Document Screening


46th District Court

Revised Screening Procedures

The following procedures have been approved by the Judges and shall take immediate effect.  Please note that parties are no longer required to request a judicial review.  Judicial review shall be immediate and automatic as provided below. 
Authority – MCR 8.110 (C)(3)(h) provides that the Chief Judge shall “effect compliance by the court with all applicable court rules and provisions of law.”  The Chief Judge and Judges of the 46th District Court hereby authorize Civil Division Court Clerks to perform a clerical review of documents submitted to the court to ensure compliance with statutory and court rule requirements that are clerical in nature. This clerical screening is critical to the Court’s ability to operate efficiently and effectively and benefits the Court, the parties and the public by avoiding unnecessary procedural complications and delay.

Limitations and Procedural Safeguards

Clerical review is defined as a pro forma comparison of dates, amounts, names and locations that are reviewed for timeliness, completeness, consistency or calculation errors.  Clerks shall review documents based on the information contained in the document itself and in the court file. At no time, shall a court clerk make a legal determination or interpretation of statutes or court rules. If a party insists on filing a document, it shall be accepted for filing along with any applicable fee and immediately sent to the judge for a determination.

Clerical Review by a Court Clerk  

  • The following types of actions are considered a clerical error or omission:
    • Unsigned pleadings
    • Illegible documents
    • Improper jurisdiction, e.g. divorce, PPO’s, complaints over $25,000
    • Improper venue -  as directed by the judges
    • Incorrect filing fees
    • Improperly named parties
    • Documents not filed within specific timeframes
    • Excessive costs, interest or fees – as calculated per statute or court rule
    • Incomplete documents
    • Inconsistent damages on default judgments
    • Pleadings filed on behalf of a corporation, partnership or limited liability company that are not signed by an attorney
  • Court clerks shall conduct a clerical review of documents they are authorized by court rule to issue or process such as Summons and Complaints; Proofs of Service; Default Entry and Judgment; Garnishments etc.
  • If a clerical error or omission is identified, the court clerk shall return the document with a Return of Non-Conforming Documents form that identifies the problem.  A copy of the document that was submitted and the form shall be retained in the court file.
  • Clerks are authorized to return a document a second time if the clerical problem was not corrected.
  • If a document is submitted a third time without correction, it shall be sent to the Judge for a judicial review and determination. 
  • Court clerks shall also conduct a preliminary clerical review of documents requiring judicial determination such as Motions, Requests for Evictions or Seizure of Property.
  • Examples of preliminary determinations include verification that the correct filing fees have been paid, whether the document was submitted timely, whether a judgment has been entered and whether the correct parties have been named.
  • A court clerk shall return these documents if there is a clerical problem such as the correct filing fee has not been paid or if post judgment action is being requested and there is no valid underlying judgment.  Other problems or issues shall be flagged for the Judges’ attention and the file sent to the Judge for review.
  • If a court clerk’s decision is challenged by a party, it shall be sent to the Judge for review.  A court clerk shall never make the final determination.

Judicial Review

  • Any problem or issue identified by a clerk that requires a judicial interpretation or determination shall be sent to the Judge for a decision.
  • Any clerical issue that the clerk is unsure how to handle shall be sent to the Judge for a decision.
  • A document or file shall be sent to the Judge for a decision if requested by a party.
  • Documents that have been returned twice by a clerk and resubmitted a third time with no correction shall be sent to the Judge for a decision.