Hawaii Legal Resources
Overview of the Hawaii Court System
Like many states, Hawaii's judicial system contains multiple levels of courts. They can be divided into two types: lower courts and higher courts.
The lower courts consist of the district courts, family courts, and circuit courts. The district courts hold exclusive jurisdiction over:
- Petty criminal offenses
- Traffic infractions
- Municipal code violations
- Landlord/tenant disputes
- Small claims cases
Small claims are those where the amount of money in dispute is less than $5,000. The district courts also handle minor civil and criminal trials. The circuit courts mainly conduct jury trials for significant civil and criminal cases as well as probate trials.
The family courts handle cases like:
- Domestic violence
- Child custody
The higher courts consist of the Intermediate Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. If someone disagrees with the way a lower court decides their case, they can appeal to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court handles administrative matters for the entire Hawaii court system and hears appeals of decisions made by the Intermediate Court.
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