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Court of Common Pleas

Court of Common Pleas (United States)

In United States jurisprudence, Court of Common Pleas is a court of certain jurisdiction. It stems from the Court of Common Pleas in the English legal system and was brought to the United States by the colonial settlers along with the rest of the English common law tradition.

In the United States legal system, there are at least four states which currently have Courts of Common Pleas (other states, such as New York, once had such a court but have abolished, altered or merged it with other courts):

  • Delaware: A statewide trial court of limited jurisdiction sitting in all three counties, handling misdemeanor criminal cases; preliminary hearings for felony criminal cases; and civil cases with a stated value up to $50,000.00. Judges are appointed by the Governor to 12-year terms.
  • Ohio: The trial court of general criminal and civil jurisdiction, located in each of Ohio's counties. Judges are elected at large.
  • Pennsylvania: The trial court of general criminal and civil jurisdiction, sitting in all of the state's counties and organized by judicial district. Most judicial districts are coterminous with the county in which the district is located, but some counties with smaller population share a judicial district (and therefore a court) with one or more other adjacent counties. Judges are elected at large.
  • South Carolina: The trial court of general civil jurisdiction, sitting in all counties in the state and organized by judicial circuits. By contrast, the trial court of general criminal jurisdiction is referred to as the Court of General Sessions.

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