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

Specialized Court: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Specialized Court. This part provides references, in relation to Specialized Court, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Specialized Court by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Specialized Court and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Specialized Court or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Specialized Court and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Specialized Court. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Specialized Court should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Specialized Court when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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