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Court Overview

Court Background

A court is a venue vested with authority of an adjudicated legal system. Courts are the arena in which legal disputes are settled. Depending on the case or structure of the dispute, a resolution can be coordinated by a judge, a jury, a tribunal, or through a mutual agreement between the two parties. The court system, in the majority of countries, is a function of either a local government or the larger federal government.

Court Room

A courtroom is the physical space where legal disputes are heard and subsequently settled. A courtroom holds all sorts of legal battles. The courtroom resolves these clashes through an observance and enforcement of the corresponding legal code. Depending on the courthouse and the type of law practiced, a courtroom can possess varying characteristics.

Court Dates

A court date is the appropriated time slot for an individual who is required to appear before a judge or tribunal board. Depending on the seriousness of the charge or dispute, a court date can be subject to change or mandatory on the assigned date. A failure to appear in court on a specified date for a criminal or severe charge could result in a hefty sanction.

Court Decisions

A court decision is the resolution in a legal case. When a decision is reached, it is assumed, barring an appeal, that the dispute is resolved or settled. All court decisions revolve around the severity of the charge and the type of law that is enforced on the defendant. In a criminal case, the court decision is referred to as a verdict--a verdict will yield a guilty or not guilty decision and a subsequent sentencing, if necessary. Typically court decisions for civil cases will result in a fine or community service if the defendant is found guilty.

Court Listings

Court listings are public directories that enable citizens of a particular jurisdiction to observe the characteristics and locations of various courthouses in the district. Court listings will offer the public the number, location, type, the presiding judge, area of law, and the judicial officer of all courthouses in the particular area.

Small Claims Court

A small claims court is a legal venue that presides over private disputes that incorporate small financial settlements. The majority of small claims courts deal with cases between two parties where less than $5,000 is disputed. Typically, cases in these venues deal with unpaid bills, debts, or disputes between tenants and landlords.

Court Reports

A court report is a record that provides the public with various rulings and intricacies associated with particular court hearings. Court reports are free resources that enable an individual to research precedents or prior rulings. Court reports, depending on the location, can be obtained at the jurisdiction's courthouse or town hall.

Court Forms

Court forms are documents that carry a wide array of functions. The most basic court forms initiate and fortify the presence of a trial, while other court forms are more complex and necessitate a specific function administered by a party or court. All court forms can be obtained through the local courthouse's website. Depending on the severity of the case, an individual will either obtain county court forms or Federal court forms.

Court Summons

A court summons is a legal document issued by a court that notifies an individual or party that they must appear before a judge or mediator to settle a certain dispute. A summons is typically placed on an individual who has failed to make a payment or promised service. In addition to the reason for the trial, a court summons also lists the date, in writing, of when the individual must appear before a judge or tribunal.

Selective Incorporation

Selective incorporation is a set of legal code that balances the powers of the State and Federal governments. Selective incorporation protects the rights and immunities of all United States citizens from Government abuse. The debate over individual rights and their respective interpretations has long been a source of debate in America. Selective incorporation is thus a legal code that, through the 14th Amendment, explicitly protects American citizens from abusive State laws.

Court Order

A court order or court ruling is an official settlement by a deciding body (judge or tribunal) that defines the relationships between the parties of a trial, appeal, or dispute. A court order requires and authorizes exact steps by the parties of the case. A court order initiates and defines a number of legal actions. From simple functions like setting court dates, to restructuring a contractual relationship between parties, a court order is an essential legal document.

Family Court

Family court is the legal venue and code that settles disputes between families. Family court cases typically revolve around child support cases, child custody issues, restraining orders, visitation rights, and emancipation of minors. In most jurisdictions, a family court law creates a legal forum that resolves all family-related issues.

Divorce Court

A divorce court is the venue and legal mechanism that initiates the divorce process. A divorce court resolves the financial and child custody disputes that married couples typically possess. Divorce courts are forms of mediation where a State-appointed official will divide the assets, debts, and custody rights of the couple.

Magistrate’s Court

A Magistrate's Court is the lowest level of legal or court system in England and Wales. Magistrate Courts are typically presided over by a tribunal, a judge, or a justice of the peace. Magistrate’s Courts were established to ease the workload of higher courts. The Magistrate Court will deal with simple, less severe cases that would be viewed as time-consuming and tedious for higher courts.

Traffic Court

A traffic court is a municipality-based legal venue that presides over all sanctions and fines incorporated through illegal acts of driving. Typically most traffic courts handle multiple cases a day. The generic cases involved in a traffic court are traffic violations such as speeding or illegal maneuvers. When stopped by a police officer, the accused individual will be given a ticket with a court date. An individual can either pay the fine or appear in court to argue their case. For more serious offenses, such as a DUI, the courts will initiate treatment programs, probation or jail sentences.

Title 28

Title 28 is a comprehensive regulatory framework that governs and oversees the actions and various departments of the Federal judicial system. Title 28 is divided into 6 distinctive parts. Each section contains numerous chapters that organize and enforce the expected procedural behaviors of each department of the judicial system.


A hearing is a proceeding that is outlined before a decision-making body, such as a court or Government agency. Hearings are distinguished from a trial because they are shorter and less formal. In general litigation, a hearing is administered as an oral argument. Hearings are initiated to settle disputes and to avoid time-consuming and costly trials.

Juvenile Court

A juvenile court is a legal venue that presides and evaluates cases that solely deal with individuals under the age of 18 years old. Cases in a juvenile court stem from simple curfew issues to severe criminal offenses. Offenses in a juvenile court are either categorized as a child protection matter or a delinquency issue. The focus of juvenile courts is to rehabilitate the minor or their living situation. That being said, if the minor commits a serious offense he or she can be charged as an adult in a regular court venue.

Kangaroo Court

A kangaroo court is an illegitimate form of legal proceeding. Typically cases or disputes in Kangaroo courts are determined in advance. The majority of legal rights and functions, such as the right to control one's defense, the ability to exclude unjust evidence, the right to exclude jurors or judges, and the right to appeal a verdict are not granted in a Kangaroo court.

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