Maryland has 23 Circuit Courts and a Clerk’s Office in each of the 23 counties across the state. These are the jury trial courts for Maryland and the court of general jurisdiction. They are grouped into eight judicial districts for administrative and supervisory purposes. Circuit Courts handle the more severe and complex cases whereas District Courts handle less complicated matters.
The types of cases heard in Maryland’s Circuit Courts are serious felonies and other criminal cases. These courts handle family matters such as divorce, separation, annulment, custody and child support and domestic abuse. These are the juvenile courts and handle delinquency, adoption, guardianships and other minor-related issues. Maryland’s Circuit Courts also handle tort cases, contract disputes, real property cases of $5,000 or more, and civil appeals. Circuit Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over mental health and juvenile cases.
Maryland’s Circuit Courts also hear appeals from the District Courts and Orphan’s Courts as well as some administrative agencies. Although Circuit Courts can use a jury often, judges will decide cases tried here.
Maryland’s Courts website lists each of the eight judicial districts along with the county and a link to each courthouse location, hours of operation, the presiding judge, court clerk contact information, phone number, and directions. Because many of the cases heard in Circuit Court are family matters, the website also has a section to assist with navigating the legal process for divorce, child custody, mental health issues, and domestic violence along with other self-help resources. The website also lists the schedule for Circuit Court judge’s and Clerk’s conferences.
On average, Maryland’s Circuit Courts hear about 250,000 cases per year. Most of those cases (89,887) are for family-related issues, 67,323 are for criminal cases, 62,123 are for civil lawsuits and cases, and 19,801 are for juvenile matters.