Specialized Court

Specialized Court in the United States

A court having narrow or highly focused jurisdiction. A specialized court is established to reduce the caseload of general jurisdiction courts and to heighten the expertise of judges working in a highly technical legal area. While specialized courts operate in a manner generally like other trial courts, their narrow focus makes them resemble administrative agencies in some respects. Judges of such courts, for example, tend to adopt strong policy positions as a consequence of the specialized issue focus. Among the specialized courts within the federal court system are the United States Court of International Trade, the United States Claims Court, the United States Tax Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Judicial Organization). As with the decisions of other trial courts, appellate review may occur.

See Also

Legislative Court (Judicial Organization) Limited Jurisdiction Court (Judicial Organization); united states court of international trade, 74.

Analysis and Relevance

Specialized courts have been used at both the federal and state levels to perform narrowly focused, often highly complex functions. Such courts not only relieve general jurisdiction court caseloads, but also become extensions of legislative bodies in dealing with the fine detail of certain policy areas. Another advantage is the expertise of judges who focus so narrowly. Further, diverse legal doctrines are avoided because a single court is making pronouncements rather than having such decisions come from general jurisdiction courts throughout the country. Specialized federal courts may be either constitutional or legislative courts. That is, they may be created by Congress using power conveyed by the Constitution through either the judicial article (Article III) or the legislative article (Article I). The United States Court of International Trade and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (U.S.) are both constitutional courts, while the United States Tax Court and United States Claims Court are legislative courts. Notwithstanding the advantages of specialized courts, legislators are somewhat hesitant to create such courts for fear they fall victim to the influence of those interest groups whose issues appear regularly before specialized courts.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Specialized Court from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California






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