The Louisiana trial court system consists of District Courts, Family Court of East Baton Rouge, Juvenile Courts, Parish Courts, City Courts, New Orleans Municipal Court, New Orleans Traffic Court, Justice of the Peace Courts, and Mayor’s Courts and Magistrate Courts.
District Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, but typically only handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts.
Courts with limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases include the East Baton Rouge Parish Family Court; Juvenile Courts in Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, and Orleans Parishes; Parish Courts in Ascension and Jefferson Parishes; City Courts; New Orleans Municipal Court; New Orleans Traffic Court; Justice of the Peace Courts; and Mayor’s Courts and Magistrate Courts.
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Louisiana District CourtsDistrict Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, but generally only handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts.
District Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over felony crimes and most cases involving property. In East Baton Rouge Parish, cases involving partition of community property are under the exclusive jurisdiction of Family Court.
District Courts may have Criminal, Civil, Family, Juvenile, Domestic Relations, Magistrate, and Drug Court divisions or sections.
District Courts share jurisdiction with City, Parish, Municipal, and Traffic Courts for certain crimes related to driving while intoxicated. Orleans Parish Civil District Court has supervisory jurisdiction over New Orleans City Courts, and Orleans Parish Criminal District Court has supervisory jurisdiction over New Orleans Municipal and Traffic Courts.
Louisiana Family Court of East Baton RougeThe Family Court of East Baton Rouge Parish has exclusive jurisdiction over all actions for divorce, annulment, child custody and child support, alimony, division of community property, and incidental family matters arising in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Louisiana Juvenile CourtsJuvenile Courts of Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, and Orleans Parishes have exclusive jurisdiction over certain types of cases including juvenile delinquency acts committed by persons under 17 years of age, and adoption proceeding involving persons under 17 years of age. There is an exception for serious felonies committed by persons over 15 years of age, who may be tried in District or City Courts.
The extent of jurisdiction exercised by a Juvenile Court varies by court. Juvenile Courts share jurisdiction with District Courts over some child support cases and some criminal cases related to desertion, nonsupport or neglect of a minor.
Other courts may also exercise jurisdiction over juvenile matters, including District Courts, Parish Courts and City Courts. Courts exercising juvenile jurisdiction generally handle most delinquency cases, children in need of care cases, juvenile traffic cases, termination of parental rights, some mental health proceedings and some criminal cases where the victim in a minor.
Louisiana Parish CourtsParish Courts in Ascension and Jefferson Parishes have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases.
Parish Courts share jurisdiction over some civil cases with District Courts, including general civil cases involving disputes over amounts of money or values of property within certain financial limits.
Parish Courts share criminal jurisdiction with District Courts for certain types of criminal cases, including violations of state, parish, or municipal laws, if the crime is not punishable by a fine of more than $1000 dollars or by more than six months imprisonment.
Parish Courts do not have jurisdiction over cases that involve disputes about title to immovable property, the right to public office or public position, civil or political constitutional rights, annulment, divorce, separation of property, alimony, habeas corpus, cases where the state or parish or other political subdivision is a defendant, and certain other types of cases.
Parish Courts may share jurisdiction with District Courts over some juvenile matters and cases.
Louisiana City CourtsCity Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases. In some locations, City Courts have replaced Mayor’s Courts and Justice of the Peace Courts.
Criminal cases generally handled by City Courts include crimes not punishable by hard labor and cases that do not require a trial by jury. Most City Court criminal cases involve misdemeanor, ordinance and traffic violations.
Civil cases generally handled by City Courts include general civil cases with limits on the amount of money or value of property in dispute.
A City Court may have a Small Claims division for most general civil cases with less than $3000 in dispute, exclusive of interest, costs, penalties and fees, when a defendant waives the right to a jury trial and an appeal.
City Courts may also handle some juvenile matters in certain circumstances.
Louisiana New Orleans Municipal CourtNew Orleans Municipal Court has exclusive original jurisdiction over violations of city ordinances, except for trafffic violations which are handled by New Orleans Traffic Court. New Orleans Munciipal Court shares jurisdiction with Orleans Parish Criminal District Court over violations of state laws that do not require a trial by jury, except for traffic violations.
New Orleans Municipal Court has a Housing and Environmental division with additional jurisdiction over certain types of cases including building code and zoning cases.
Louisiana New Orleans Traffic CourtNew Orleans Traffic Court has exclusive jurisdiction over violations of traffic ordinances of the City of New Orleans. It shares jurisdiction with New Orleans Parish Criminal District Court over violations of state traffic and vehicle laws that do not require a trial by jury.
Louisiana Justice of the Peace CourtsJustice of the Peace Courts have limited civil and criminal jurisdiction that may vary by court.
Criminal cases generally handled by Justice of the Peace Courts include preliminary hearings for most criminal cases and litter violations, and may include other types of violations and non-felony criminal cases.
Justice of the Peace Courts share limited jurisdiction over some civil cases with District Courts, including some general civil cases within financial limits.
Justice of the Peace Courts do not have jurisdiction over certain types of cases, including probate matters, cases where the State or political subdivision is a defendant, cases where title to real estate is an issue, and other types of cases as defined by law.
Justice of the Peace Courts do not exist in wards in which City Courts have established.
Louisiana Mayor’s Courts and Magistrate CourtsMayor's Courts handle traffic and local ordinance violations, and may impose fines, imprisonment, probation, and court costs. Most municipalities in Louisiana have a Mayor's Court, unless a City Court has been established.
At a mayor's request, the board of aldermen may appoint a magistrate to preside over the Mayor's Court in place of the mayor.
Where to find court cases in LouisianaThe chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of court in Louisiana.