District court
District courts are a category of court
A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law...

s which exists in several nations. These include:


District Court is the name given to the intermediate court in most Australian States. They hear indictable (serious) criminal offences excluding treason, murder and, in some States, manslaughter. Their civil jurisdiction is also intermediate, typically being for civil disputes where the amount claimed is greater than a $75 000 but less than $750 000. The limits vary between Australian States. In Victoria, the equivalent Court is called the County Court. Below them is the Magistrates' Courts, known as the Local Court in New South Wales. Above them are the State Supreme Courts.


Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 has some 200 district, or local, courts, which decide minor civil and criminal cases
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...



See also Judicial system of Finland

Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 has 61 district courts (käräjäoikeus/tingsrätt), which deal with criminal cases, civil cases and petitionary matters. Each court is headed by the Chief Judge and other District Judges. In certain cases, the district court may also have Lay Judges. The cases are handled and resolved either in a session or in chambers. In simple cases decisions can be made by notaries.

Hong Kong

The District Courts in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, established in 1953, has limited jurisdiction in both civil and criminal matters. With effect from 1 December 2003, it has civil jurisdiction to hear monetary claims up to HK$1 million or, where the claims are for recovery of land, the annual rent or rateable value does not exceed HK$240,000. In its criminal jurisdiction, the court may try the more serious cases, with the main exceptions of murder, manslaughter and rape. The maximum term of imprisonment it may impose is seven years. There are one Chief District Judge and 30 District Judges, among which three District Judges sit in the Family Court and two District Judges sit in the Lands Tribunal as Presiding Officers.


The District Courts of India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 are presided over by a judge
A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open...

. They administer justice in India at a district
Districts of India
A district is an administrative division of an Indian state or territory. Districts are further subdivided, in some cases into Sub-Divisions, and otherwise directly into tehsils or talukas.District officials include:...

 level. These courts are under administrative and judicial control of the High Court
High Courts of India
India's unitary judicial system is made up of the Supreme Court of India at the national level, for the entire country and the 21 High Courts at the State level. These courts have jurisdiction over a state, a union territory or a group of states and union territories...

 of the State to which the district concerned belongs.


The District Court in Ireland was established in 1924. The Court handles civil claims of up to €6,350 and summary
Summary offence
A summary offence is a criminal act in some common law jurisdictions that can be proceeded with summarily, without the right to a jury trial and/or indictment .- United States :...

 criminal trials (minor offences tried by a judge alone where the maximum penalty is 12 months on indictment in the Circuit Court
Circuit Court (Ireland)
The Circuit Court is an intermediate level court of local and limited jurisdiction in the Republic of Ireland which hears both civil and criminal matters. On the criminal side the Circuit Court hears criminal matters tried on indictment with a judge and jury, except for certain serious crimes...

 and the granting of licences for the sale of alcohol.


The District Courts in Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 serve both as the appellate courts and also as the court of first instance for some cases (e.g. real estate or IP). As of 2007, there are six district courts:
  • Jerusalem
  • Tel Aviv
    Tel Aviv
    Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

  • Haifa
    Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

  • Nazareth
    Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

  • Central Region (Petah Tikva
    Petah Tikva
    Petah Tikva known as Em HaMoshavot , is a city in the Center District of Israel, east of Tel Aviv.According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, at the end of 2009, the city's population stood at 209,600. The population density is approximately...

  • Beersheba
    Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300....

New Zealand

The District Courts of New Zealand are a low-level trial court. The Courts can hear civil claims up to $200,000 and deal with relatively minor criminal charges. The District Courts were called the Magistrates' Courts until 1980.


The Norwegian tingrett deals with criminal and civil cases.


The District Courts of Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 are presided over by a Senior judge
A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open...

. They administer justice in Pakistan at a district
Districts of Pakistan
The Districts of Pakistan are the second order administrative divisions of Pakistan. Districts were the third order of administrative divisions, below provinces and "divisions", until the reforms of August 2000, when "divisions" were abolished...

 level. These courts are under administrative and judicial control of the High Court
High Courts of Pakistan
There are five High Courts of Pakistan, each of four based in the capital city of one of the four provinces. The government has proposed a fifth high court to cover the Islamabad Capital Territory. This proposal was blocked by the Lahore High Court but that decision was overturned by the Supreme...

 of the province to which the district concerned belongs.


District Courts were introduced in 1975 as replacement for Burgh Police Courts; they dealt with the most minor crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

s. They were run by the local authorities. Each court comprised one or more Justices of the Peace
Justice of the Peace
A justice of the peace is a puisne judicial officer elected or appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace. Depending on the jurisdiction, they might dispense summary justice or merely deal with local administrative applications in common law jurisdictions...

 (lay magistrates) who sat alone or in threes with a qualified legal assessor as convener or clerk of court.

They handled many cases of breach of the peace
Breach of the peace
Breach of the peace is a legal term used in constitutional law in English-speaking countries, and in a wider public order sense in Britain.-Constitutional law:...

, drunkenness
Alcohol intoxication is a physiological state that occurs when a person has a high level of ethanol in his or her blood....

, minor assault
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

s, petty theft
In common usage, theft is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting and fraud...

, and offences under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
The Civic Government Act 1982 is an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament which makes provision for a wide range of civic government matters....


District Court operated under summary procedure and could not impose a fine in excess of £2,500 or sentence an offender to more than 60 days in prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

. In practice, most offences were dealt with by a fine.

In Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 where the volume of business
A business is an organization engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and administered to earn profit to increase the wealth of their owners. Businesses may also be not-for-profit...

 requires the employment of three solicitor
Solicitors are lawyers who traditionally deal with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts. In the United Kingdom, a few Australian states and the Republic of Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers , and a lawyer will usually only hold one title...

s as "stipendiary magistrate
A magistrate is an officer of the state; in modern usage the term usually refers to a judge or prosecutor. This was not always the case; in ancient Rome, a magistratus was one of the highest government officers and possessed both judicial and executive powers. Today, in common law systems, a...

s" who sit in place of the lay Justices. The Stipendiary Magistrates' court has the same sentencing power as the summary Sheriff Court
Sheriff Court
Sheriff courts provide the local court service in Scotland, with each court serving a sheriff court district within a sheriffdom.Sheriff courts deal with a myriad of legal procedures which include:*Solemn and Summary Criminal cases...


District Courts in Scotland were abolished and replaced with Justice of the Peace Courts under the provisions of the Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007. The Justice of the Peace Courts are managed by the Scottish Court Service
Scottish Court Service
The Scottish Court Service is the body which is responsible for the administration of the Court system in Scotland. The Service employs over 1000 staff members in Scotland's 49 Sheriff Courts, the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary, Justice of the Peace Courts and at the Service's HQ...

. Responsibility for the Courts was transferred from the local authorities in a rolling programme of court unification which concluded in February 2010. District Courts were replaced by JP Courts in sheriffdoms as follows-
  • Sheriffdom of Lothian and Borders
    Lothian and Borders
    Lothian and Borders is an area in south-east Scotland consisting of the East Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Midlothian, West Lothian areas along with the Scottish Borders....

    , 10 March 2008
  • Sheriffdom of Grampian, Highlands and Islands, 2 June 2008
  • Sheriffdom of Glasgow and Strathkelvin, 8 December 2008
  • Sheriffdom of Tayside, Central and Fife, 23 February 2009
  • Sheriffdom of North Strathclyde, 14 December 2009
  • Sheriffdom of South Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway, 22 February 2010


See also Judicial system of Sweden

, Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 has 53 district courts under the name tingsrätt
Tingsrätt , käräjäoikeus or tingrett is a term used for district courts in Sweden, Finland and Norway...

, which deal with criminal and civil cases. The number has decreased since 1999, when there were 96 district courts.

United States

In the United States federal courts
United States federal courts
The United States federal courts make up the judiciary branch of federal government of the United States organized under the United States Constitution and laws of the federal government.-Categories:...

, the United States district court
United States district court
The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of law, equity, and admiralty. There is a United States bankruptcy court associated with each United States...

s are the general trial court
Trial court
A trial court or court of first instance is a court in which trials take place. Such courts are said to have original jurisdiction.- In the United States :...

s. The federal district courts have jurisdiction over federal questions
Federal question jurisdiction
Federal question jurisdiction is a term used in the United States law of civil procedure to refer to the situation in which a United States federal court has subject-matter jurisdiction to hear a civil case because the plaintiff has alleged a violation of the Constitution or law of the...

 (trials and cases interpreting federal law, or which involve federal statutes or crimes) and diversity
Diversity jurisdiction
In the law of the United States, diversity jurisdiction is a form of subject-matter jurisdiction in civil procedure in which a United States district court has the power to hear a civil case where the persons that are parties are "diverse" in citizenship, which generally indicates that they are...

 (cases otherwise subject to jurisdiction in a state trial court but which are between litigants of different states and/or countries). There are 89 federal districts in the 50 states. United States district courts also exist in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, the Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands are the western island group of the Leeward Islands, which are the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, which form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean...

, the District of Columbia, Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

, and the Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , is a commonwealth in political union with the United States, occupying a strategic region of the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines...

. So, in total, there are 94 U.S. district courts. Decisions from these courts are subject to review by one of the 13 United States court of appeals
United States court of appeals
The United States courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system...

, which are, in turn, subject to review by the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...


Some states maintain state courts called "district courts." In Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, the Florida District Courts of Appeal
Florida District Courts of Appeal
The Florida District Courts of Appeal are the intermediate appellate courts of the Florida state court system. There are five DCAs:*The First District Court of Appeal is headquartered in Tallahassee...

 are intermediate appellate court
Appellate court
An appellate court, commonly called an appeals court or court of appeals or appeal court , is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal...

s. In Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, the Texas District Courts
Texas District Courts
The Texas District Courts form part of the Texas judicial system and are the trial courts of general jurisdiction of Texas. As of September 2011, 456 district courts serve the state, each with a single judge, elected by partisan election to a four-year term....

 are trial courts of general jurisdiction
General jurisdiction
A court of general jurisdiction is one that has the authority to hear cases of all kinds - criminal, civil, family, probate, and so forth.-Courts of general jurisdiction in the United States:All federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Many U.S...

, hearing all felony
A felony is a serious crime in the common law countries. The term originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods; other crimes were called misdemeanors...

 and divorce
Divorce is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties...

 cases, election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

 controversies, and many civil matters. The Hawaii State District Courts
Hawaii State District Courts
The Hawaii State District Courts are a level of state courts in Hawaii.In addition, the District Courts have jurisdiction over:*Civil cases with an amount in controversy not in excess of $25,000 or where the relief sought is specific performance valued under $25,000...

 and Kentucky District Courts are courts of limited jurisdiction
Limited jurisdiction
Limited jurisdiction, or special jurisdiction, is the courts' jurisdiction only on certain types of cases such as bankruptcy, family matters, etc....


External links

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