The Connecticut trial court system consists of Superior Courts, Probate Courts, Tax Session, and Child Protection Session.
Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over all types of civil and criminal cases, and generally handle cases that are beyond the limited jurisdiction of Probate Courts. Some Superior Courts also have "special sessions" that are specialized court divisions for certain types of cases. Some special sessions handle cases for the entire state, including the Tax Session and the Child Protection Session.
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Connecticut Superior CourtsSuperior Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, and typically handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of Probate Courts.
Superior Courts are organized into divisions and special sessions by case type.
Every Superior Court has court divisions for Civil, Criminal, Family and Juvenile Cases. Special sessions are court divisions that handle certain types of cases. Some special sessions are only available in some courts, while other special sessions serve the entire state from one location.
Civil Division. The Civil Division is divided into five parts: Administrative Appeals, Civil Jury, Civil Non-Jury, Landlord/Tenant (including Summary Process/eviction) and Small Claims. The Small Claims division handles claims for $5,000 or less, if all requirements for Small Claims jurisdiction are met.
Criminal Division. The Criminal division handles crimes, violations and infractions. Crimes include felonies (punishable by more than one year of incarceration) and misdemeanors (punishable by less than one year of incarceration). Violations include motor vehicle cases that are punishable only by a fine. Infractions include traffic tickets and offer the ability to pay a fine by mail to avoid a court appearance. Some cases may be handled by a special session of a Drug Docket or Drug Court, for cases where substance abuse treatment appears appropriate, or by a Community Court, for cases that involve “quality of life” crimes.
Family Division. The Family Division handles many types of cases about family relationships, including divorce, child custody, child support and “relief from abuse” (also known as restraining orders or abuse prevention orders).
Juvenile Division. The Juvenile Division handles certain cases involving the care of children or the behavior of a child, including but not limited to termination of parental rights, emancipation of a minor, child or youth neglect, delinquency and cases involving families with service needs (FWSN).
Tax Session. This special session handles appeals of decisions made by the Commissioner of Revenue Services and other administrative agencies. This session is located at New Britain Superior Court but serves the entire state.
Child Protection Session. The special session located in Middlesex Superior Court acts as a statewide juvenile trial court and accepts cases from all Juvenile Court divisions if the case meets certain criteria, such as complexity. Other Superior Courts may also have Child Protection Sessions that serve local courts.
Complex Litigation Docket. For certain cases that involve many parties, complex legal issues, or very large monetary claims, this special session is available in Hartford, Middlestown, Waterbury and Stamford.
Regional Family Trial Docket. Located in the Middlesex Judicial District Superior Court, this session accepts cases that meet certain criteria in an effort to handle contested cases involving children as quickly as possible.
Truancy Docket. The Chief Court Administrator may establish a Truancy Docket at any Superior Court to handle truancy separate from the Juvenile Division.
Drug Docket. The Chief Court Administrator may establish a Drug Docket at any Superior Court for defendants in criminal or juvenile cases that meet the legal definition of a “drug-dependent person.” This session is available for offenders who may benefit from placement in substance abuse treatment programs.
Community Court. This session is currently available in Hartford and Waterbury and handles some misdemeanor cases and some violations of municipal ordinances, including disorderly conduct, prostitution, public drunkenness, excessive noise, simple possession of marijuana, criminal trespass and illegal vending. This session may order a defendant to participate in community service programs.
Housing Session. Some Superior Courts offer special sessions and dispute resolution services for landlord-tenant cases. These sessions currently operate in the Superior Courts of Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk and Waterbury.
Connecticut Probate CourtsProbate Courts generally handle cases that include wills, estates, trusts, ownership of real and personal property, guardianships, civil commitment, paternity, termination of parental rights, adoptions and name changes.
Probate Courts share jurisdiction over some cases with Superior Courts. In addition, even though Probate Courts do not offer jury trials, if a proper request for a jury is made in Probate Court, a case may transfer to Superior Court for a jury trial and then return to Probate Court after the end of a jury trial.
Connecticut Tax SessionThis special session of Superior Court handles appeals of decisions made by the Commissioner of Revenue Services and other administrative agencies.
This session is located at the New Britain Superior Court but handles cases for the entire state.
Connecticut Child Protection SessionThis special session is located in the Middlesex Superior Court and acts as a statewide juvenile trial court for certain types of cases.
The statewide Child Protection Session accepts cases from all Juvenile Court divisions if the case meets certain criteria, such as complexity.
Other Superior Courts may also have Child Protection Sessions that serve local courts.
Connecticut Court NotesOn July 1, 1978, the Circuit Court and Court of Common Pleas were incorporated into the Superior Court, so all references to Circuit Court or the Court of Common Pleas are now interpreted to mean Superior Court.
Where to find court cases in ConnecticutThe chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of court in Connecticut.
Note: Some courts in Connecticut are not included in the chart above. Please use the following links for descriptions and types of cases heard:
Tax Session Child Protection Session