HOME

TheInfoList




A trial court or court of first instance is a
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Sta ...

court
having
original jurisdiction In common law legal systems original jurisdiction of a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state Sta ...
, in which
trial In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...

trial
s take place. A trial court of
general jurisdiction {{Globalize, article, USA, 2name=the United States, date=December 2010 A court of general jurisdiction is a court with authority to hear cases of all kinds – criminal law, criminal, civil law (common law), civil, family law, family, probate, and ...
is authorized to hear some type of
civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil (journalism), a platform for independent journalism *Civilian, someone not a member ...
or
criminal In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper ...
case that is not committed exclusively to another court. In the United States, the
United States district court#REDIRECT United States district court The United States district courts are the general trial court A trial court or court of first instance is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the aut ...
s are the trial courts of general jurisdiction of the federal judiciary; each state has a system establishing trial courts of general jurisdiction, such as the
Florida Circuit Courts The Florida circuit courts are state courts, and are trial court A trial court or court of first instance is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate leg ...
in Florida, the
Superior Courts of California Superior courts in California are the State court (United States), state trial courts with general jurisdiction to hear and decide any civil or criminal action which is not specially designated to be heard in some other court or before a governmenta ...
in California, and the
New York Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the State of New York is the trial-level court of general jurisdiction {{Globalize, article, USA, 2name=the United States, date=December 2010 A court of general jurisdiction is a court with authority to hear cases of all ...
in New York state. Not all cases are heard in trial courts of general jurisdiction. A trial court of
limited jurisdictionLimited jurisdiction, or special jurisdiction, is the court's jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin ''Wikt:ius#Latin, juris'' 'law' + ''Wikt:dictio, dictio'' 'declaration') is the practical authority granted to a legal body to administer justice, ...
is authorized to hear only specified types of cases. Trial courts of limited jurisdiction may be limited in
subject-matter jurisdiction Subject-matter jurisdiction (also called jurisdiction ''ratione materiae')'' is the authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to a specific subject matter. For instance, bankruptcy court only has the authority ...
(such as
juvenile Juvenile may refer to: *Juvenile status, or minor (law), prior to adulthood *Juvenile (organism) *Juvenile (rapper) (born 1975), American rapper *Juvenile (2000 film), ''Juvenile'' (2000 film), Japanese film *Juvenile (2017 film), ''Juvenile'' (20 ...
,
probate Probate is the judicial process whereby a will is "proved" in a court of law and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased, or whereby the estate is settled according to the laws of intestacy Intest ...
, and
family court Family courts were originally created to be a Court of Equity A court of equity, equity court or chancery court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudic ...
s in many U.S. states, or the
United States Tax Court The United States Tax Court (in case citation Case citation is a system used by legal professionals to identify past court case A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be resolved by a court A ...
in the federal judiciary) or by other means, such as
small claims court Small-claims courts have limited jurisdiction to hear civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil (journalism), a platfo ...
s in many states for civil cases with a low
amount in controversy Amount in controversy (sometimes called jurisdictional amount) is a term used in civil procedure Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the rules and standards that courts follow when adjudicating civil lawsuits (as opposed to procedures ...
. Other trials do not take place in courts at all, but in
quasi-judicial bodies A quasi-judicial body is a non-judicial body which can interpret law. It is an entity such as an Arbitration panel or tribunal board, that can be a public administrative agency but also a contract- or private law entity, which has been given powers ...
or in
administrative agencies A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government The machinery of government (sometimes abbreviated as MoG) is the interconnected structures and processe ...
with adjudicatory power created by statute to make binding determinations with simplified procedural practices, such as
arbitration Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), or external dispute resolution (EDR), typically denotes a wide range of dispute resolution processes and techniques that act as a means for disag ...
. Because different U.S. states apply different names to their courts, it is often not evident whether a court has general or limited
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
. For instance, the Maine District Court is a court of limited jurisdiction, but the
Nevada District CourtsIn the Nevada state court system, the Nevada District Courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction, where criminal, civil, family, and juvenile matters are generally resolved through arbitration, mediation, and bench or jury trials. The D ...
are courts of general jurisdiction. In the trial court,
evidence Evidence for a proposition In logic and linguistics, a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence (linguistics), sentence. In philosophy, "Meaning (philosophy), meaning" is understood to be a non-linguistic entity which is shared by a ...
and
testimony In law and in religion, testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter. Etymology The words "testimony" and "testify" both derive from the Latin word ''testis'', referring to the notion of a disinterested Third-party source, thir ...
are admitted under the
rules of evidence The law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described ...
established by applicable
procedural law Procedural law, adjective law, in some jurisdictions referred to as remedial law, or rules of court comprises the rules by which a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or g ...
and determinations called ''findings of fact'' are made based on the evidence. The court, presided over by one or more
judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In th ...

judge
s, makes ''findings of law'' based upon the applicable law. In most
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
jurisdictions, the trial court often sits with a
jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartial Impartiality (also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objectivity (philosophy), objective ...

jury
and one
judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In th ...

judge
; in such
jury trial A jury trial, or trial by jury, is a lawful proceeding in which a jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartial Impartiality (also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice h ...
s, the jury acting as
trier of fact A trier of fact, or finder of fact, is a person, or group of persons, who determines what fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam ...
. In some cases, the judge or judges act as triers of both fact and law, by either statute, custom, or agreement of the parties; this is referred to as a
bench trial A bench trial is a trial In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its envi ...
. In the case of most judges hearing cases through the
bench trial A bench trial is a trial In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its envi ...
process, they would prefer that all parties are given an opportunity to offer a vigorous and robust case presentation, such that, errors in
testimony In law and in religion, testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter. Etymology The words "testimony" and "testify" both derive from the Latin word ''testis'', referring to the notion of a disinterested Third-party source, thir ...
, procedures, statutes, etc., do not grow "crab legs" -- meaning compounded errors -- and are
remanded Remand is when higher courts send cases back to lower courts for further action. In the law of the United States, appellate courts remand cases to district courts for actions such as a new trial. Federal judiciary of the United States, Federal a ...
or returned to their court on
appeal In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is describ ...
. Appeals from the decisions of trial courts are usually made by higher courts with the power of appellate review (
appellate court An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics ...
s). Most trial courts are courts of record, where the record of the presentation of evidence is created and must be maintained or transmitted to the appellate court. The record of the trial court is certified by the clerk of the trial court and transmitted to the appellate body. Most appellate courts do not have the authority to hear testimony or take evidence, but instead rule solely on matters of law.


See also

*
Lower court A lower court is a court from which an Appeal (law), appeal may be taken. In relation to an appeal from one court to another, the lower court is the court whose decision is being reviewed, which may be the original trial court or appellate court lo ...


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Trial Court Courts by type Judiciaries Legal procedure Types of trials