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What Is County Court?

A variety of courts exist to address issues and problems at various levels of a country—national, federal, local, etc. The purpose of having a hierarchy of courts is to process cases in a timely manner and commensurately address to the severity of the case. A county court is a local court that addresses court cases of counties, small territories or jurisdictions within a state.


A county is an administrative jurisdiction of a state, and operates its own court. The jurisdiction of a county court varies depending on the borders of the county itself. The definition of the jurisdiction may be found in several statutes. County court is often the first level of court in a local jurisdiction. The county court is also referred to as the people’s court since it is the court that people approach firs to bring forward their legal issues.


County courts hear both civil and criminal cases. Most of these cases are often minor in nature, such as petty offenses, infractions, or misdemeanors. It is left to higher courts to decide on more severe and serious offenses of both the civil and criminal nature. A district judge or circuit judge often hears cases at the county court level. Cases that fall within the jurisdiction of a county court depend on where the defendant resides.


Most county courts are administrative in nature, having to act as the executive agency of the local government. Thus, judges in these types of courts assume an executive rather than a judicial position.

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