The Mississippi trial court system consists of Circuit Courts, Chancery Courts, County Courts, Youth Courts, Justice Courts, and Municipal Courts.
Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over most civil and criminal cases and typically handle cases beyond the jurisdiction of other courts. Chancery Courts have limited jurisdiction over domestic relations, probate and juvenile cases, and share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts over certain types of cases. County Courts and Justice Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases. Youth Courts have jurisdiction over juvenile offenses as well as cases involving abuse or neglect of juveniles. Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of criminal cases and traffic violations.
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Mississippi Circuit CourtsCircuit Courts have general jurisdiction over most civil and criminal cases, and mostly handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts. Circuit Courts also handle appeals from County, Justice, and Municipal Courts, and from administrative agencies.
Criminal cases heard by Circuit Courts include felonies and lesser-included offenses.
Circuit Courts hear all civil claims for more than $200,000 and certain matters related to real estate. Circuit Courts may share jurisdiction with County Courts for matters less than $200,000, and share jurisdiction with Chancery Courts for certain other types of cases.
Mississippi Chancery CourtsChancery Courts have limited jurisdiction to hear certain types of cases, including equity, domestic relations, probate matters, mental health, guardianship and some matters relating to real estate. Chancery Court judges are also known as Chancellors.
In counties without a County Court, Chancery Court judges or their appointed referees sit as Youth Court judges to hear juvenile matters.
Cases generally heard by Chancery Courts include divorce, legal separation, child custody, child support, alimony, the probate of wills, the administration of estates and involuntary commitment.
Chancery Courts share some jurisdiction over certain types of cases with Circuit Courts.
Mississippi County CourtsCounty Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases. County Courts share jurisdiction with Justice Courts for civil and criminal cases within Justice Court jurisdiction, including petty misdemeanors. County Courts also share jurisdiction with Circuit and Chancery Courts in certain civil and criminal matters.
County Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over juvenile matters, in which the County Court judge sits as a Youth Court judge.
County Courts handle most general civil claims for less than $200,000, exclusive of costs and interest. County Courts can hear counterclaims for more than $200,000, unless all parties agree to transfer the case to Circuit Court.
County Courts also have jurisdiction over cases involving eminent domain, the partition of personal property and some actions for unlawful entry and detainer.
Mississippi Youth CourtsYouth Courts handle all cases involving a juvenile offense, a delinquent child, a child in need of supervision, a neglected child, an abused child or a dependent child. There are limited exceptions for particularly violent juvenile offenses, which may be heard in Circuit Court, and child abuse charges that may be heard in Chancery Court custody cases. A child is any person under the age of 18.
In the 21 Mississippi counties that have County Courts, the County Court judge is also the Youth Court judge. In counties without a County Court, Chancery Court judges or their appointed referees sit as Youth Court judges.
Additionally, the city of Pearl in Rankin County has a Youth Court.
Mississippi Justice CourtsJustice Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases.
Criminal cases heard by Justice Courts include criminal offenses punishable by a fine or time in county jail and petty misdemeanors. Justice Courts share criminal jurisdiction with Circuit Courts and County Courts, and some Justice Courts may exercise exclusive jurisdiction over petty misdemeanor cases. Justice Courts may also conduct bond and preliminary hearings in felony cases.
Civil cases heard by Justice Courts include most general civil claims for less than $3,500. Justice Courts share civil jurisdiction with County Courts.
Mississippi Municipal CourtsMunicipal Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of criminal cases.
Criminal cases heard by Municipal Courts include misdemeanor criminal cases and municipal ordinance violations, including traffic offenses.
Mississippi Drug CourtsMany Mississippi courts operate a special Drug Court, which can set up treatment in lieu of incarceration for some nonviolent adult and juvenile first offenders with substance abuse problems. Drug Court participants may undergo close supervision, drug testing, counseling, community service, and educational or job requirements. Successful completion of a Drug Court program can result in dismissed charges or reduced sentences.
Where to find court cases in MississippiThe chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of court in Mississippi.