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Overview of the Delaware Court System

With six different courts, each with its own jurisdiction, Delaware’s court system can be confusing to citizens going through it. Some courts handle only certain types of cases, where others are responsible for reviewing the decisions of lower courts.

The Delaware Courts are:

  • Justice of the Peace Court
  • Court of Common Pleas
  • Family Court
  • Superior Court
  • Court of Chancery
  • Supreme Court

The Justice of the Peace courts hear minor civil cases, petty criminal offenses, traffic offenses, landlord/tenant disputes, and local ordinance violations. The civil cases in Justice of the Peace Court are those where less than $15,000 is in dispute. For most people, Justice of the Peace Court is the first court they encounter.

The Court of Common Pleas handles civil cases concerning less than $75,000, most criminal misdemeanors, and preliminary hearings in felony cases. They also hear appeals from the lower courts.

Family Courts have jurisdiction over nearly any family or juvenile matter, including divorce, adoption, child support issues, and domestic violence.

The Superior Court is a trial court for large civil cases, felonies, and almost all drug offenses. It may also hear appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas and Family Court.

The Court of Chancery exclusively handles corporate and business legal affairs such as trusts, real estate, and fiduciary law. Many businesses from across the U.S. incorporate in Delaware because of the case law developed by the Court of Chancery.

Finally, the Supreme Court of Delaware hears appeals from the Superior Court, Family Court, and the Court of Chancery. It also sets administrative policy for the entire Delaware court system.

Facing a Legal Issue in Delaware?

The best place to start is contacting an experienced attorney. At LawInfo, we provide a database of Lead Counsel Rated Delaware attorneys based on their location and practice area, so you can find the best lawyer for you.