Find courts and courthouses, such as federal, state, district, superior, criminal, common, circuit, judicial, judiciary, divorce, appeals, family, traffic, and small claims courts. Courts provide information on legal cases, law documents, case searches, and appeals.

What is a Court?

A court tries criminal cases and also resolves civil disputes that can't be resolved privately. In some cases, disputes are required to go to a court for decision, while others can be settled out of court. For example, some states require all divorces to be heard by a judge in court before being finalized. However, the defense and prosecution can settle certain criminal cases without a judge ruling on the matter.

Courts are the judicial branches of governments and are typically found in buildings referred to as courthouses, with each courthouse housing multiple courts within its walls. They provide access to information regarding legal cases and law documents, while also providing methods for case searches.

The judiciary refers to those judges who collectively preside over legal proceedings in courts. They have the final say regarding the outcome of legal proceedings, including those associated with civil or criminal cases.

Courts are responsible for

  1. Hearing criminal cases. When a person is accused of a crime, he or she has the option to go to trial. At trial, the case will be presented to a judge and possibly a jury. Even when jury trials are selected, judges preside over the proceedings and can render sentences and judgments.
  2. Hearing civil cases. Courts settle disputes between individuals or organizations in cases where one party feels wronged by the other.
  3. Recording activities. Courts must maintain records of all court proceedings, including those considered public. This includes keeping any documents related to trials or other proceedings, as well as creating records associated with testimony, verdicts, judgments, sentences and awards.
  4. Resolving disputes. All cases that go to court are fundamentally about resolving a dispute between people or entities. Courts act as an unbiased third party representing the law during disputes.
  5. Rendering judgments. After the hearing of a case, a judge of the court can render a judgment designed to bring resolution to the dispute or disputes under review.

Are there different types of Courts?

There are numerous kinds of courts. Some courts are based on location, such as federal, state, circuit, district and county courts. Other courts are divided based on function. These include superior, criminal, common, divorce, appeals, family, traffic, and small claims courts.