Library

New York Court System

For a more complete introduction to the court system, see the NYS Unified Court System website. Click on publications, and Structure of the Courts (http://www.courts.state.ny.us/ctstrct99.pdf) booklet.

  1. Appellate Courts
  2. Statewide Trial Courts
  3. New York City Courts

 

APPELLATE COURTS

Court of Appeals

(http://www.courts.state.ny.us/ctapps/)

The Court of Appeals is New York State's highest court, composed of a Chief Judge and six Associate Judges, each appointed by the Governor to a 14-year term. The current Chief Judge is Judith Kaye. In general, the Court of Appeals hears civil and criminal cases on appeal from the other appellate courts. Its review is generally limited to questions of law. Cases on constitutional provisions and the death penalty are appealed directly to this court. The Court has administrative powers including the power to promulgate the rules of court and to regulate the admission of attorneys to the state bar.

 

Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court

New York State's intermediate level appellate court is the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. It hears appeals from trial courts and has power to review both law and facts in civil and criminal cases. The Appellate Division hears appeals directly from the Supreme Court, County Courts, Family Courts, Surrogate's Courts and the Court of Claims. It has original jurisdiction in matters concerning bar admissions, supervision of attorneys, habeas corpus and proceedings against judges of the Supreme Court.

There are four Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court in New York State. New York and Bronx Counties are in the First Appellate Division. Kings, Queens and surrounding counties in Southern New York are in the Second Appellate Division. Appeals from the County Courts are generally heard in the Appellate Division.

 

Supreme Court, Appellate Term

In the First and Second Departments, Appellate Terms were created to hear cases on appeal from the Civil and Criminal Courts of the City of New York. The Second Department also hears appeals from the originating City, Town and Village Courts.

  • New York Miscellaneous Reports (Official)
  • West’s New York Supplement (Unofficial)
  • Lexis – NY; APPTRM; Westlaw – NY; NY-CS

 

STATEWIDE TRIAL COURTS

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is a trial court of statewide jurisdiction, which hears cases that are outside the jurisdiction of other trial courts of limited jurisdiction (i.e. Family Court, Surrogate’s Court, etc). The Supreme Court hears both civil and criminal trials, although in practice, most criminal trials are heard in County Courts. In New York City, there are both civil and criminal parts. The Supreme Court has jurisdiction over felony charges in New York City. Divorces, separations and annulments are heard in the civil parts of the Supreme Court in New York.

  • New York Miscellaneous Reports (Official)
  • West’s New York Supplement (Unofficial)
  • New York Law Journal (Unofficial – newspaper)
  • Lexis – NY; SUPRCT; Westlaw – NY; NY-CS

 

County Court

The County Courts are trial courts with jurisdiction over civil law and equity. Excepting New York City, these courts have original criminal jurisdiction. In the 3rd & 4th Departments, these courts have appellate jurisdiction over cases originating in City, Town and Village Courts. Appeals from these courts are heard in the Appellate Division.

  • New York Miscellaneous Reports (Official)
  • West’s New York Supplement (Unofficial)
  • New York Law Journal (Unofficial – newspaper)
  • Lexis – NY;COUNCT; Westlaw – NY; NY-CS

 

Family Court

Each county and the City of New York have a division of Family Court, which has jurisdiction over matters involving children and families. Proceedings involving child support, custody, foster care, adoption, paternity, and juvenile delinquency take place in Family Court. Jury trials are not available.

  • New York Miscellaneous Reports (Official)
  • West’s New York Supplement (Unofficial)
  • New York Law Journal (Unofficial – newspaper)
  • Lexis – NY;FAMCT; Westlaw – NY; NY-CS

 

Surrogate’s Court

Surrogate’s Court hears cases involving decedents’ estates, probate of wills, adoptions, and guardianships.

  • New York Miscellaneous Reports (Official)
  • West’s New York Supplement (Unofficial)
  • New York Law Journal (Unofficial – newspaper)
  • Lexis – NY;SURGCT; Westlaw – NY; NY-CS

 

NEW YORK CITY COURTS

New York City Civil Court

The Civil Court of New York City has jurisdiction of civil matters and equity up to $25,000. There is a small claims part for informal dispositions up to $3,000 and a housing part for landlord-tenant disputes and housing code violations.

  • New York Miscellaneous Reports (Official)
  • West’s New York Supplement (Unofficial)
  • New York Law Journal (Unofficial – newspaper)
  • Lexis – NY;CIVCT; Westlaw – NY; NY-CS

 

New York City Criminal Court

The Criminal Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanors (offenses punishable by less than 12 months detention) and violations (fines less than $1000). Arraignments and preliminary hearings in felony cases are also heard in this court.

  • New York Miscellaneous Reports (Official)
  • West’s New York Supplement (Unofficial)
  • New York Law Journal (Unofficial – newspaper)
  • Lexis – NY;CRIMCT; Westlaw – NY; NY-CS

 

Directories - State
  • New York Judge Reviews and Court Directory
    Unofficial; not comprehensive, short biographical entries for appellate and trial court judges
    Ref KFN5090.A19N49x
  • The New York Red Book
    Official directory of New York State government; includes biographical entries for Court of Appeals judges
    Ref JK3430.A25x
  • The New York State Directory
    Unofficial directory; includes short biographical entries for Court of Appeals judges
    Ref JK3430.N52

 

Directories - NYC
  • The Green Book: Official Directory of New York City
    Ref JS1222.N4x
  • New York County Bench Book
    Unofficial; includes short biographical entries for NY county judges for Supreme Court, Family, Housing courts, etc.
    Ref KFX2020.J8.N49x

 

This page was updated August 16, 2007