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District court: Wikis


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District courts are a category of courts which exists in several nations. These include:

A court complex at Guntur, India.



District Court is the name given to the intermediate court in most Australian States. They hear indictable (serious) criminal offences excluding treason, murder and, in some States, manslaughter. Their civil jurisdiction is also intermediate, typically being for civil disputes where the amount claimed is greater than a $50 000 but less than $250 000[1]. The limits vary between Australian States. In Victoria, the equivalent Court is called the County Court [2]. Below them is the Magistrates' Courts, known as the Local Court in New South Wales. Above them are the State Supreme Courts.


Austria has some 200 district, or local, courts, which decide minor civil and criminal cases.


See also Judicial system of Finland

Finland has 61 district courts (käräjäoikeus/tingsrätt), which deal with criminal cases, civil cases and petitionary matters. Each court is headed by the Chief Judge and other District Judges. In certain cases, the district court may also have Lay Judges. The cases are handled and resolved either in a session or in chambers. In simple cases decisions can be made by notaries.

Hong Kong

The District Courts in Hong Kong, established in 1953, has limited jurisdiction in both civil and criminal matters. With effect from 1 December 2003, it has civil jurisdiction to hear monetary claims up to HK$1 million or, where the claims are for recovery of land, the annual rent or rateable value does not exceed HK$240,000. In its criminal jurisdiction, the court may try the more serious cases, with the main exceptions of murder, manslaughter and rape. The maximum term of imprisonment it may impose is seven years. There are one Chief District Judge and 30 District Judges, among which three District Judges sit in the Family Court and two District Judges sit in the Lands Tribunal as Presiding Officers.


The District Courts of India are presided over by a judge[3]. They administer justice in India at a district level. These courts are under administrative and judicial control of the High Court of the State to which the district concerned belongs.


The District Court in Ireland was established in 1924. The Court handles civil claims of up to €6,350 and summary criminal trials (minor offences tried by a judge alone where the maximum penalty is 12 months imprisonment). The court also has jurisdiction in granting bail for accused on remand for trial on indictment in the Circuit Court and the granting of licences for the sale of alcohol.

New Zealand

The District Courts of New Zealand are a low-level trial court. The Courts can hear civil claims up to $200,000 and deal with relatively minor criminal charges. The District Courts were called the Magistrates' Courts until 1980.


The Noregian tingrett deals with criminal and civil cases.


District Courts were introduced in 1975 as replacement for Burgh Police Courts; they deal with the most minor crimes. They are run by the local authorities. Each court comprises one or more Justices of the Peace (lay magistrates) who sit alone or in threes with a qualified legal assessor as convener or clerk of court.

They handle many cases of breach of the peace, drunkenness, minor assaults, petty theft, and offences under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.

District Court operate under summary procedure and may not impose a fine in excess of £2,500 or sentence an offender to more than 60 days in prison. In practice, most offences are dealt with by a fine.

In Glasgow where the volume of business requires the employment of three solicitors as "stipendiary magistrates" who sit in place of the lay Justices. The Stipendiary Magistrates' court has the same sentencing power as the summary Sheriff Court.

District Courts in Scotland are being abolished and replaced with Justice of the Peace Courts under the provisions of the Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007. The new Justice of the Peace Courts are managed by the Scottish Court Service. Responsibility for the Courts is being transferred from the local authorities in a rolling programme of court unification, planned to conclude in November 2009. To date, District Courts have been replaced by JP Courts in sheriffdoms as follows-

  • Lothian and Borders, 10 March 2008 [4]
  • Grampian, Highlands and Islands, 2 June 2008 [5]
  • Glasgow and Strathkelvin, 8 December 2008 [6]
  • Tayside, Central and Fife, 23 February 2009 [7]
  • South Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway - planned for June 2009
  • North Strathclyde - planned for October 2009


See also Judicial system of Sweden

As of 2009, Sweden has 53 district courts under the name tingsrätt, which deal with criminal and civil cases.[8] The number has decreased since 1999, when there were 96 district courts.[9]

United States

In the United States, district courts may refer to two different types of trial courts: state courts (in some U.S. states) or the general trial courts of the federal court system, known as United States district courts.

State district courts do not exist in some states; in others, the term "district court" has different meanings:

The federal district courts have jurisdiction over federal questions (trials and cases interpreting federal law, or which involve federal statutes or crimes) and diversity (cases otherwise subject to jurisdiction in a state trial court but which are between litigants of different states and/or countries). There are 89 federal districts in the 50 states. United States district courts also exist in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. So, in total, there are 94 U.S. district courts. Decisions from these courts are subject to review by one of the 13 United States court of appeals, which are, in turn, subject to review by the Supreme Court of the United States.


  1. ^ Homepage, Western Australia District Court -
  2. ^ Homepage, Victorian County Court -
  3. ^ District Courts of India -
  4. ^ Circular JD/1/2008
  5. ^ Circular JD/5/2008
  6. ^ Circular JD/9/2008
  7. ^ Circular JD/2/2009
  8. ^ District court - Sveriges Domstolar (English)
  9. ^ Sammanslagna tingsrätter – En utvärdering, Swedish Agency for Public Management (2007:9) (Swedish)

External links



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