Seals of the Court of Appeals and Superior Court
District of Columbia Courts

Language Filing Exceptions

With certain limited exceptions, all forms submitted to the court must be completed in English, and foreign language translations of forms are to be used only as guides for people who cannot read the English-language forms they may receive or be required to use.    

A filing in a language other than English may be accepted in an emergency situation in which the filing is truly time-sensitive, the applicable resource center or self-help center is closed, and no person qualified to provide competent translation or interpreting assistance is available. 

Examples of Filings that Might Qualify for this Emergency Exception Include:
  1. An application to stay a writ of restitution in a Landlord & Tenant case;
  2. A petition for a temporary protection order in a Domestic Violence case;
  3. A motion to set aside a default judgment and to stay a writ of attachment in a Small Claims case;
  4. A civil complaint presented on the last day of the statute of limitations period; and 
  5. An answer or other paper (e.g. a motion to dismiss) presented on the last day of the period for filing a response to the complaint in a civil case.

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