Louisiana’s City and Parish Courts are the limited jurisdiction courts for the state. They also share concurrent jurisdiction with the District Court in civil matters where the amount is $15,000 or less. Historically, Louisiana had Justice of the Peace and Mayor’s Courts which these local courts replaced. There are 48 City Courts and 3 Parish Courts in the state of Louisiana. City Courts are called “courts of record.” According to the Supreme Court, this is defined as: “Their decisions are reviewed on appeal on the record, as opposed to being tried anew in a higher court.”
The types of cases handled in City Court are mainly city ordinance violations, misdemeanors and preliminary hearings for more serious criminal offenses. They also resolve civil actions where the amount is between $5,000 - $20,000. They can handle juvenile cases as well, unless the parish has a separate Juvenile Court with jurisdiction over those matters. Some City Courts also have a small claims division as well.
Full or part-time judges staff City Courts whereas Parish Courts have only full-time judges. All City and Parish Judges are elected and serve six-year terms. There are seventy-two total City and Parish Courts judges.
The Supreme Court website has a section for self-represented individuals, and since many of the issues resolved in City and Parish court involved traffic violations, family matters or misdemeanors, these resources are helpful to those defendants and plaintiffs. They have forms to download and use for filing, an e-filing portal for registered users, a law library with dozens of references, rules and guides, videos and state bar association resources as well.
The total number of filings in City and Parish Court for the last year calculated was 613,748. Of that total, 89,917 were civil matters, 110,042 were criminal offenses, 406,230 were traffic-related issues, and 7,559 were juvenile offenses.