The Mississippi trial court system consists of Circuit Courts, Chancery Courts, County Courts, Youth Courts, Municipal Courts, and Justice 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.
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, juvenile matters, mental health, guardianship and some matters relating to real estate.
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 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 twenty Mississippi counties that have County Courts, the County Court judge is also the Youth Court judge. In seven of the counties without a County Court, the Chancery Court judge hears Youth Court cases. In the remaining counties without County Courts, the Chancery Judge appoints a referee to handle Youth Court matters.
Additionally, the cities of Pearl and Courtland have Youth 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 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.
Civil cases heard by Justice Courts include most general civil claims for less than $2,500. Justice Courts share civil jurisdiction with County Courts.
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.