Established in 1777, the superior courts are North Carolina’s oldest courts. Superior courts hear civil and criminal cases. Superior court is divided into five divisions and 48 districts across the state. Every six months, superior court judges rotate among the districts within their divisions. The rotation system is provided for by the state constitution and designed to minimize conflicts of interest that might result from having a permanent judge in one district. Each administrative superior court district has a senior resident superior court judge who manages the administrative duties of the court. A clerk of superior court is elected in each county and is responsible for all clerical and record-keeping functions.
- Civil cases involving more than $25,000
In civil cases, a judge generally will decide the case without a jury, unless a party to the case requests one.
- All felony criminal cases
- Misdemeanor and infraction appeals from the district court
The Constitution stipulates that a jury of 12 citizens renders the verdict for any criminal defendant who pleads not guilty.
BusinessThe North Carolina Business Court is a specialized forum of the superior court and operates in four locations. Cases involving complex and significant issues of corporate and commercial law are assigned by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina to a special superior court judge who oversees resolution of all matters in the case through trial.
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