Superior Court Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Superior Court, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Superior Court?

(n) The term superior court is used by some states to represent trial court when there exists a county trial court in that state.

History and Meaning of Superior Court

The term "Superior Court" is used in the United States to denote a court of general jurisdiction. In the judicial systems of some states, such as California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, the superior court is the trial court of general jurisdiction with power to hear and decide any civil or criminal action, except for those cases that are exclusively reserved for a special court. The superior court hears cases involving serious criminal offenses, civil disputes where the amount of money at issue is above a certain threshold, and cases arising under the family law.

Examples of Superior Court

  1. John filed a lawsuit in Superior Court alleging breach of contract and sought damages in excess of $50,000.
  2. The District Attorney's Office filed charges against a defendant for murder and the case was sent to the Superior Court for trial.
  3. Maria and Tom are going through a divorce, and their custody dispute was heard in Superior Court, which awarded joint custody of their children.

Legal Terms Similar to Superior Court

  1. Circuit Court: A general trial court, with jurisdiction to hear criminal and civil cases appealed from lower courts, in some states.
  2. District Court: A lower court, with limited jurisdiction, that handles preliminary hearings or arraignments, small claims cases, and misdemeanors.
  3. Appellate Court: A court that has the power to review decisions made by lower courts, primarily to determine if the case was handled correctly and if the law was applied fairly.