Tennessee’s Circuit Courts are the general jurisdiction courts for the state, and they handle both civil and criminal matters. Tennessee has 95 counties, and they are split into 31 judicial districts. Each district has both Circuit and Chancery Courts. Some judicial districts also have Probate Courts and Criminal Courts as well.
Judges of Circuit Courts are elected into their positions and serve eight-year terms. Circuit Court’s jurisdiction sometimes overlaps with Chancery Courts.
Circuit Courts handle all criminal trials except in districts that have established a separate Criminal Court. The types of cases resolved by Circuit Courts are tort cases, real property cases of more than $50, probate/estate cases, domestic relations issues, and all criminal cases. These courts also handle appeals from Municipal Courts, Juvenile Courts, and General Sessions Courts.
The Tennessee State Courts website provides many legal resources for patrons of the court, attorneys and the general public. Along with two sections of forms for filing cases, they also offer guides, a criminal justice handbook, programs for families, veterans and people with drug and alcohol addictions, along with information about mediation and parenting plans. They offer ADA accommodations and language assistance to those who need it. Additionally, they have biographies for most of the judges within the Tennessee judicial system posted on their website.
For the last year tallied, Tennessee’s Circuit Courts saw a total of 50,216 new filings. Of those, the most significant amount (10,754) was for tort and property damage cases, 7,855 were about child support, 6,923 were for divorces without any children, 6,764 were for domestic protective orders, 5,523 were civil lawsuits, 4,782 were for divorces with children, 2,748 were for contract disputes, 1,141 were for adoptions and the rest were for miscellaneous legal issues including probate and workers’ compensation claims.