Vermont's Supreme Court is its only court of appeals and the highest court in the state. It is also the court of last resort; their decision is final. The Supreme Court was established with the Vermont Constitution in 1777. Later that year, the government established the Superior Courts as well. The Supreme Court is located in Montpelier.
The types of cases reviewed by the Supreme Court are appeals from the lower courts and municipal agencies. They also adopt rules of procedure for civil, criminal, family, probate, environmental, and appellate cases. They can process appeals from state agencies, boards, and commissions. The Supreme Court also has exclusive authority over all the lower courts, the Vermont Bar Association, and all judges and attorneys. They are responsible for both judge and attorney discipline.
The Vermont Supreme Court has one Chief Justice and four Associate Justices. Each is appointed by the Governor from a list created by the Judicial Nominating Board, and they serve six-year terms. The General Assembly can renew a justice's term after it expires.
The Court Clerk's Office supports the entire court system and is responsible for daily operations, filing documents, keeping the docket, and other administrative tasks.
Most cases tried in Superior Courts can be reviewed at the Supreme Court level upon request. Supreme Court Justices review briefs and oral arguments of cases to ensure that no errors were made when applying the law to them in the first trial. The justices make a decision, called an "opinion," and they are openly posted on the Vermont Judiciary website for review.
On average Vermont's Supreme Court sees about 450 cases per year. A panel of three justices reviews the majority of cases but some more complicated cases are evaluated by all five.