Trial Court Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Trial Court, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Trial Court?
Court that holds the original trial as different from the court of appeals.
History and Meaning of Trial Court
A trial court is the court that hears and tries cases for the first time, as opposed to an appellate court that hears appeals of decisions made by lower courts. In the United States, trial courts are typically organized as either criminal courts or civil courts. This system traces its roots back to the English common law legal system, where cases were resolved through trial by jury.
Examples of Trial Court
- In criminal proceedings, a trial court would be responsible for determining if a person is guilty or not guilty of a crime.
- In civil proceedings, a trial court would be responsible for deciding the outcome of a legal dispute between two parties, such as a personal injury case.
- In family law, a trial court would be responsible for determining child custody, child support, and spousal support.
- In probate court, a trial court would be responsible for overseeing matters related to wills and estates.
Legal Terms Similar to Trial Court
- Appellate Court: A court that reviews decisions made by lower courts.
- District Court: In the United States, the trial court for the federal court system is called the district court.
- Superior Court: In some states, the trial court that has jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases is called the superior court.