Montana's court system is generally comprised of Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (Justice, City and Municipal), State District Courts, and the state's highest court, the Montana Supreme Court. Courts dealing with specific issues are called specialty courts and include Youth Courts, Drug Courts, Water Court and Workers' Compensation Court.
The forms featured on this page deal with civil law issues, meaning they deal with non-criminal legal matters such as tort claims (lawsuits), breach of contract, family law, property law and other areas.
To bring a civil case into court, a Plaintiff (which may be a person, organization, business, or governmental entity) typically files a document called a complaint. The complaint alleges the basis for relief and request for judgment. Civil remedies include money, or a court-ordered requirement that one side perform a specific task it is legally obligated to.
Once a court issues and order or judgment, a case may still pass through additional stages, such as an appeal or execution of the judgment (collection).
Montana's Courts of Limited Jurisdiction include Justice Courts, City Courts, and Municipal Courts. Although the jurisdiction of these courts differs slightly, collectively they address cases involving misdemeanor offenses, civil cases for amounts up to $12,000, small claims valued up to $7,000, landlord/tenant disputes, local ordinances, forcible entry and detainer, protection orders, certain issues involving juveniles, and other matters.
FORMS - Execution of a Judgment (Collection)
Montana’s District Courts cover 22 judicial districts, with each district comprised of several counties. District Courts maintain general jurisdiction and handle cases including felony-level criminal cases, probate and divorce cases. District Courts may also act as appeal courts for decisions from courts of limited jurisdiction and administrative judges.
Civil cases in District Court must follow several different types of rules, including the Rules of Civil Procedure and the Uniform District Court Rules, and local court rules.
FORMS - Motions
A Motion is the name of a paper that you must file to ask a judge to make a ruling or to take some other action for you once you have started a lawsuit. A Motion does not start a lawsuit. To start a lawsuit, you need to file a Complaint or, in a certain family law cases like divorce and parenting plan cases, a Petition.
FORMS - Execution of a Judgment (Collection)
Montana's highest court, the Montana Supreme Court is made up of the chief justice and six associate justices. The Montana Supreme Court exercises both original and appellate jurisdiction.
Appellate jurisdiction allows the Supreme Court to receive cases that have already been decided by lower courts to determine whether the lower court’s decision was wrong, unconstitutional, or unfair. The supreme court only reviews procedural parts of appeals. It does not do fact-finding which means there are no witnesses and no juries. Only two attorneys, one for each side, argue the case.
Original jurisdiction means that the Supreme Court can also hear a case for the first time, as opposed to hearing a case that has already been tried by a lower court. The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in limited types of cases, such as when an inmate requests to be released from prison while waiting for his trial. Original jurisdiction is also used by the Supreme Court when it wants to take supervisory control over a district court case that has not been decided. The Supreme Court may exercise original jurisdiction in a case that has not been through a district court if the case does not involve facts, but instead is a question about a law or the constitution.
The Montana Supreme Court also makes procedural rules for all Montana courts and regulates Montana attorneys.
For more information visit the homepage for the Montana Supreme Court or link to our help page on Appeals.
Self-Represented Litigants Civil HandBook and Forms
Notice of Appeal (Form 1, M.R.App.P.)
Notice of Cross-Appeal (Form 2, M.R.App.P.)
Certificate of Service
Motion and Affidavit in Support of Motion to Proceed on Appeal Without Payment of Filing Fee
E Notification Form
Transcripts Deemed Necessary for Appeal Form (Form 9, M.R.App.P.)
FORMS - Attorneys
Sample Caption for Petition
Sample Petition for Offsite Swearing-In
Petition to Active Status
FORMS - Mediation
Selection of Mediator
Statement of Position
Mediator Background Form
FORMS - Prison Approved Forms
Motion to Proceed on Appeal Without Payment of Filling Fee
Notice of Appeal
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus - Montana Supreme Court
Montana’s specialty courts include Drug Courts, Water Court, Workers’ Compensation Court, and Youth Courts.
A Montana Drug Court is a court docket within a District Court or Court of Limited Jurisdiction that specialize in adult criminal, DUI offenses, juvenile, veteran or civil child abuse and neglect cases involving persons who are alcohol or other drug dependents. Montana’s Drug Courts reduce recidivism and substance abuse among participants and successfully habilitate them through alcohol and drug abuse treatment, mandatory and frequent drug testing, use of appropriate sanctions and incentives, and continuous judicial oversight. Learn more at http://courts.mt.gov/courts/drugcourt.
The Montana Water Court, created in the 1979 Legislature, provides expedited statewide adjudication of overstating law-based water rights and Indian and Federal reserved water rights claims. The Water Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the adjudication of water rights claims. Learn more at http://courts.mt.gov/courts/water.
Montana’s Workers' Compensation Court (WCC), created in 1975, provides an efficient and effective forum for the resolution of disputes arising under the Workers' Compensation Act and the Occupational Disease Act. The WCC's exclusive jurisdiction includes matters such as disputes involving independent contractor exemptions and reemployment preferences. The WCC conducts trials statewide and decides requests for judicial review from final orders of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. WCC decisions may be appealed directly to the Supreme Court. Visit the WCC home page at http://wcc.dli.mt.gov/.
Montana’s Youth Courts, operating in each of Montana’s 22 judicial districts, handle the majority of cases where a juvenile is a party. Youth courts operate under a restorative justice model where youths are held accountable for criminal behavior while also receiving appropriate services to assist them in developing necessary life skills. For more information, visit http://courts.mt.gov/courts/ycourt.
FORMS – Workers’ Compensation Court
Link to Workers’ Compensation Court Forms on the WCC website.
FORMS & GUIDES – Water Court
Outline of Montana Water Law
Step by Step Guidebook
Generic Forms and Instructions