Jurisdiction in the United States The power of a court to act, including its authority to hear and decide cases. Jurisdiction defines the boundaries within which a particular court may exercise judicial power. Judicial power is specifically conveyed through the assignment of jurisdiction. The […]


Bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Definition The state or condition of a bankrupt. A state of insolvency (in U.S. law) in which the property of a debtor is taken over by a receiver or trustee in bankruptcy for the benefit of the creditors. See other definition of Bankruptcy in the […]

Appellate Jurisdiction

Appellate Jurisdiction in the United States The power of a court to review decisions of lower courts. Appellate jurisdiction empowers a superior court to affirm, set aside, or modify a lower court decision. Appellate jurisdiction is conveyed through constitutional or statutory mandate. Federal […]

General Jurisdiction Court

General Jurisdiction Court in the United States Introduction to Courts of General Jurisdiction A trial court that has the power to respond to a broad range of issues. The term jurisdiction defines a court’s authority, and courts with general jurisdiction may properly hear civil and criminal […]

United States Claims Court

History Hears claims from private parties against the federal government. The Court of Claims was established in 1855 to address claims stemming from war debts. The court was renamed by the Federal Court Improvement Act of 1982. Examples of the kinds of cases currently heard by the claims […]

Unified Court System

Unified Court System in the United States A court system organized around sets of one or two consolidated trial courts. The Unified Court System (Judicial Organization) has certain structural and administrative characteristics and is an approach designed to reduce the historical fragmentation […]

United States Court Of Appeals

The intermediate appellate court of the federal judicial system. The U.S. Court of Appeals was established by Congress in 1891 to provide a first appellate review of cases brought from federal trial courts and certain administrative agencies. The objective was to decrease the number of cases […]

Three-Judge District Court

Three-Judge District Court in the United States A special U.S. district court created to try certain kinds of cases. The Three-Judge District Court (Judicial Organization) was authorized in 1903 and was designed to hear Sherman Anti-trust and Interstate Commerce Act cases filed by the U.S. […]

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 […]

State Supreme Court

State Supreme Court in the United States The court of last resort in state judicial systems. Almost every state calls this court the supreme court although several have other names such as the supreme court of appeals. Regardless of name, this court functions as the final appellate authority […]

Limited Jurisdiction Court

Limited Jurisdiction Court in the United States Trial court whose authority to act is restricted to particular categories or cases. Limited jurisdiction courts (also called Courts of Limited Jurisdiction) are the opposite of courts possessing general jurisdiction and may be referred to as […]

Military Justice System

Military Justice System in the United States Court established for proceedings involving military personnel. The military justice system is provided for in the Code of Military Justice. The code also defines offenses and punishments, and it sets forth the procedural standards and due process […]

Intermediate Appellate Court

Intermediate Appellate Court in the United States An appeals court structurally located between trial courts and a court of last resort. The jurisdiction and organization of intermediate appellate courts varies from state to state. Typically, these courts review decisions from the general […]

Dual System

Dual System in the United States Refers to the parallel judicial structure located at the federal and state levels. The dual system for courts is an element of the American federalism where authority is divided between the two levels. Generally, the two judicial systems are separate. Each has […]

Equity Jurisdiction

Equity Jurisdiction in the United States The power of a court to grant relief or remedy to a party seeking court assistance outside the principles of common law. Equity jurisdiction permits judgments based on perceptions of fairness that supplement common law doctrines. Relief is assistance […]

Circuit Judicial Council

Circuit Judicial Council in the United States Entity designed to maximize the efficiency of federal courts within the geographic circuits. A circuit judicial council consists of the court of appeals judges from the circuit as well as a small number of district court judges. While council […]

Judicial Organization

Judicial Organization in the United States The United States has a dual court system with multiple courts in each. That is, we divide the judicial functions between the federal government and the states. Within both the federal and state court systems, jurisdiction—a court’s power to […]