Louisiana Legal Resources
Overview of the Louisiana Court System
With eight different types of court, the Louisiana judicial system can seem confusing to anyone encountering it for the first time. It can be helpful, however, to think of the system as a four-tiered structure.
The bottom level consists of city and parish courts and the justice of the peace courts. These courts handle smaller civil cases of up to $5,000, small-claim cases up to $3,000, and traffic violations. The city and parish courts also conduct preliminary criminal hearings.
The decisions in those courts can be appealed to the next level, the district courts. This level includes the main jury courts as well as juvenile court and family court. All civil, criminal, and probate trials are held in the district courts.
The third level is the Court of Appeals, which can overturn or uphold decisions made in the lower courts.
The fourth level is the Supreme Court, which is the court of last resort in Louisiana. It hears appeals from the Court of Appeals and death penalty appeals from the district courts.
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