Missouri Legal Resources
Overview of the Missouri Court System
Missouri's four-level legal system includes four different types of courts courts. At the bottom of the system are the municipal courts, followed by the circuit courts. Then above the circuit courts is the Court of Appeals. The Missouri Supreme Court occupies the top tier.
Like in other states, cases enter at one of the lower two courts and can be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. The municipal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, meaning they only handle the following types of cases:
- Traffic violations
- Petty criminal offenses
- City code violations
Municipal courts typically don't have jury trials.
The next tier of courts is made up of the circuit courts, which handle most types of cases, including all civil and criminal cases, family law issues, and juvenile cases. They may also hear appeals of decisions made by the municipal courts.
One tier above the circuit courts is the Court of Appeals. If either party is unhappy with a legal verdict given in the circuit courts, they may appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals. If the Court of Appeals decides against someone, and they believe the verdict violates court procedures or the Missouri State Constitution, they may appeal the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. As the court of last resort in the state, the Supreme Court has the final say.
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