Lower court
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A lower court or inferior court is a
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil law (common law), civil, C ...

court
from which an
appeal In law, an appeal is the process in which cases are reviewed by a higher authority, where parties request a formal change to an official decision. Appeals function both as a process for error correction as well as a process of clarifying and ...
may be taken, usually referring to courts other than
supreme court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...

supreme court
. 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 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 legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the admin ...
or some of
appellate court A court of appeals, also called a court of appeal, appellate court, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In much of t ...
lower in rank than the
supreme court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...

supreme court
which is hearing the appeal. In other words, lower courts are 'lower' in hierarchical chain of appellate procedure than other higher
appellate courts A court of appeals, also called a court of appeal, appellate court, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In much of t ...
. Usually it is obligation of a lower court to follow the decision of higher appellate court, even in civil law countries where
precedents A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. Common law#Disambiguate civil law, Common- ...
have no binding power.


See also

Some of common law countries use term 'lower court' or 'inferior court' as antonym for '
superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court of general jurisdiction over civil and criminal legal cases. A superior court is "superior" in relation to a court with limited jurisdiction (see small claims court), which is restricted to civil ...
', meaning such lower courts have only
limited jurisdiction Limited jurisdiction, or special jurisdiction, is the court's jurisdiction only on certain types of cases such as bankruptcy, and Family law, family matters. Courts of limited jurisdiction, as opposed to general jurisdiction, derive power from an i ...
according to importance of case (usually decided by monetary amount of claims). For information on this kind of courts, see
Small claims court Small-claims courts have limited jurisdiction to hear Civil law (common law), civil cases between private litigants. Courts authorized to try small claims may also have other judicial functions, and go by different names in different jurisdiction ...
and
superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court of general jurisdiction over civil and criminal legal cases. A superior court is "superior" in relation to a court with limited jurisdiction (see small claims court), which is restricted to civil ...
. *
Magistrates' court A magistrates' court is a lower court where, in several Jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions, all criminal proceedings start. Also some civil matters may be dealt with here, such as family proceedings. Courts * Magistrates' court (England and Wales) ...
*
Provincial and territorial courts in Canada The provincial and territorial courts in Canada are local Trial court, trial "inferior" or "Lower court, lower" courts of limited jurisdiction established in each of the provinces and territories of Canada. These courts typically hear Criminal law, ...
*
Lower Courts of Namibia The judiciary of Namibia consists of a three-tiered set of courts, the Lower, High and Supreme Courts. Parallel to this structure there are traditional courts dealing with minor matters and applying customary law. Lower Courts The Lower Courts o ...
*
Lower court of San Marino The Judicial system of San Marino requires that the country's lower court judges be noncitizens, to ensure impartiality. Most lower court judges are Italian People, Italian. A local conciliation judge handles cases of minor importance. Other cases ...
* Inferior courts of the United States


References

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