New Hampshire Superior Courts are the general jurisdiction courts for the state and the only courts that use a jury. They practice justice in both criminal and civil matters. There is one Superior Court in each of the eleven counties of the state except for Hillsborough County which has two.
New Hampshire established the Superior Court in April of 1901 to split the Supreme Court’s responsibilities among two courts instead of one. New Hampshire has 20 full-time judges who serve the Superior Court. The state Governor chooses the judges, and then they are confirmed by the Executive Council. They serve lifetime terms but are forced to retire at age 70.
Superior Courts handle cases of real property of at least $1,500 and damage claims of $25,000 or more. They also resolve negligence cases, contract disputes, and other civil claims. Superior Courts also handle felonies for significant crimes such as theft, burglary, drugs, and aggravated sexual assault. They process misdemeanor appeals from the District Courts as well.
In addition to the list above, Superior Courts also have “exclusive jurisdiction over petitions for injunctive relief, in which parties seek a court order to block action, appeals from zoning and planning board decisions, disputes over title to real estate and petitions to enforce contracts.”
Through New Hampshire’s e-Court program, civil filings for Superior Court are available to litigants and attorneys. The Superior Court section of the judicial branch website has extensive resources including forms, daily docket schedules, court rules, court locations, juror information and assistance, mediation options and various other links to help patrons navigate the system.
For the final year tallied, Superior Courts saw 16,440 filings. Of that total, 9,965 were for criminal actions, 5,868 were for civil lawsuits, 130 were for family issues, and the rest were minor criminal infractions.