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Circuit courts are court systems in several common law jurisdictions.[1] The core concept of circuit courts requires judges to travel to different locales to ensure wide visibility and understanding of cases in a region. More generally, some modern circuit courts may also refer to a court that merely holds trials for cases of multiple locations in some rotation.

Contents

1 History 2 England and Wales 3 Republic of Ireland 4 United States

4.1 Federal courts of appeals 4.2 Supreme Court of the United States 4.3 State courts

5 References 6 See also

History[edit] King Henry II instituted the custom of having judges ride the circuit each year to hear cases, rather than requiring every citizen to bring their cases to London
London
(see Assize
Assize
of Clarendon).[2] Thus, the term "circuit court" is derived from the practice of having judges ride around the countryside each year on pre-set paths − circuits − to hear cases. Especially on the United States
United States
frontier, a judge might travel on horseback along with a group of lawyers. Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
was one such attorney who would ride the circuit in Illinois. In more settled areas, a stagecoach would be used. Eventually, the legal caseload in a county would become great enough to warrant the establishment of a local judiciary. Most of these local judicial circuits (that is, in terms of the actual routes traveled by judges) have been thus replaced by judges regularly stationed at local courthouses, but in many areas, the legacy term remains in usage. England and Wales[edit] Further information: Circuit judge (UK) England and Wales is divided into six regions or circuits for the purposes of the administration of justice.[3]

Northern Circuit North Eastern Circuit Wales and Chester Circuit (also known as Wales and Cheshire) Midland Circuit Western Circuit South Eastern Circuit

The system is overseen by the Lord Chancellor. The membership consists of High Court Judges, Circuit Judges, District Judges, law practitioners and academic lawyers. The Circuits also form the basis for administration of the Bar in England and Wales. The Circuit Bars are represented on the Bar Council through the Circuit Leaders.[3] Republic of Ireland[edit] Main article: Circuit Court (Ireland) In the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
the Circuit Court is part of the Courts of First Instance, senior to the District Court but junior to the High Court (Ireland). It was first established as the Circuit Court of Justice
Justice
under the Courts of Justice Act 1924 and replaced the County Court on the civil side, and Quarter Sessions and Recorder's Courts on the criminal side, as well as some of the jurisdiction of the assizes. These are heard by a judge sitting alone. It also has jurisdiction to hear appeals from the District Court. Appeals from the Court lie to the High Court on the civil side and the Court of Criminal Appeal
Court of Criminal Appeal
on the criminal side. The Circuit Court is so called because of the circuits on which its judges travel, namely Dublin, Cork, Northern, Western, Eastern, South Western, South Eastern, and Midland, each of which are composed of a number of counties. The court consist of a President and thirty-seven judges. Although there is strictly speaking just one Circuit Court, a sitting of the Circuit Court in any particular location is referred to as name of town Circuit Court, e.g. Trim Circuit Court. The High Court also sits "on circuit" twice yearly, though this is called the High Court on Circuit rather than a circuit court. In this case, "on circuit" means sitting in a location other than Dublin. There are 70 circuit courts in a state United States[edit] Federal courts of appeals[edit] In the United States, circuit courts were first established in the British Thirteen Colonies. In 1789, the United States
United States
circuit courts were United States
United States
federal courts established in each federal judicial district. These circuit courts exercised both original (first instance) and appellate jurisdiction. They existed until 1912. The original jurisdiction formerly exercised by the United States
United States
circuit courts is now exercised by the United States
United States
district courts. Their appellate jurisdiction is now exercised by the United States
United States
courts of appeals, which were known as the United States
United States
circuit courts of appeals from their establishment in 1894 until 1947. The federal courts of appeals sit permanently in 13 appellate circuits (11 regional circuits as well as a DC Circuit and the Federal Circuit). Note that there are several other federal courts that bear the phrase "Court of Appeals" in their names, but they are not Article III courts and are not considered to sit in appellate circuits. The federal courts of appeals are intermediate courts, between the district courts (the federal trial courts) and the Supreme Court. Smaller circuits, such as the Second Circuit and Third Circuit, are based at a single federal courthouse, while others, such as the large Ninth Circuit, are spread across many courthouses. Since three-judge federal appellate panels are randomly selected from all sitting circuit judges, Ninth Circuit judges must often "ride the circuit," though this duty has become much easier to carry out since the development of modern air travel. Supreme Court of the United States[edit] Under the original Judiciary Act of 1789
Judiciary Act of 1789
and subsequent acts, the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States
United States
in Washington, D.C. had the responsibility of "riding circuit" and personally hearing intermediate appeals, in addition to their caseload back in the capital. This onerous duty was abolished by Congress with the Judiciary Act of 1891. The U.S. Supreme Court justices still retain vestiges of the days of riding circuit; each justice is designated to hear certain interlocutory appeals from specific circuits and can unilaterally decide them or refer them to the entire Court. The Court's customary summer recess originated as the time during which the justices would leave Washington and ride circuit (since dirt roads were more passable in the summer). State courts[edit] Many U.S. states have state courts called "circuit courts." Most are trial courts of general, original jurisdiction.

Alabama
Alabama
- Alabama
Alabama
Circuit Courts Arkansas
Arkansas
- Arkansas
Arkansas
Circuit Courts Florida
Florida
- Florida
Florida
Circuit Courts Hawaii
Hawaii
- Hawaii
Hawaii
State Circuit Courts Illinois
Illinois
- Illinois
Illinois
Circuit Courts Indiana
Indiana
- Indiana
Indiana
Circuit Courts Kentucky
Kentucky
- Kentucky
Kentucky
Circuit Courts Maryland
Maryland
- Maryland
Maryland
Circuit Courts Michigan
Michigan
- Michigan
Michigan
Circuit Courts Mississippi
Mississippi
- Mississippi
Mississippi
Circuit Courts Missouri
Missouri
- Missouri
Missouri
Circuit Courts New Hampshire
New Hampshire
- New Hampshire
New Hampshire
Circuit Courts Oregon
Oregon
- Oregon
Oregon
Circuit Courts South Carolina
South Carolina
- South Carolina
South Carolina
Circuit Court South Dakota
South Dakota
- South Dakota
South Dakota
Circuit Courts Tennessee
Tennessee
- Tennessee
Tennessee
Circuit Courts Virginia
Virginia
- Virginia
Virginia
Circuit Court - court of record that has appellate jurisdiction over a county's general district court and juvenile and domestic relations court and original jurisdiction over major civil cases and all the county's felony cases. A circuit court has the power to issue death sentences and impanel grand juries. The court's decisions become legal precedents. West Virginia
Virginia
- West Virginia
Virginia
Circuit Court Wisconsin
Wisconsin
- Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Circuit Court

In Louisiana, the intermediate appellate courts are called the Louisiana
Louisiana
Circuit Courts of Appeal. There are five separate judicial circuits. In many states, such as Missouri, a judicial circuit can encompass one or more counties (see Missouri
Missouri
Circuit Courts). Each circuit court can have several divisions, including circuit, associate, small claims, probate, family, or drug court. Each division hears cases within its particular area of subject-matter jurisdiction, and jurisdiction is based on the size or type of a civil claim or the severity or type of a criminal charge. Drug court, for example, hears only drug-related criminal cases. Several U.S. states have state supreme courts that traditionally "ride the circuit" in the sense of hearing oral arguments at multiple locations throughout their jurisdictions each year. Among the states with circuit-riding supreme courts are California, Idaho, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington. References[edit]

^  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Circuit". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 387–389.  ^ " Assize of Clarendon English history". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-05-16.  ^ a b Circuits Archived 2007-06-29 at the Wayback Machine. by the Bar Council of England and Wales

See also[edit]

Law portal History portal United Kingdom portal England portal Ireland portal Wales portal United States
United States
portal

Assize Circuit rider (U.S. Court system) Circuit

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