BizTerm Definition
state court
Full Definition

A court that decides cases involving state law or the state constitution. State courts have jurisdiction to consider disputes involving individual defendants who reside in that state or have minimum contacts with the state, such as using its highways, owning real property in the state or doing business in the state. State courts have very broad power to hear cases involving all subjects except those involving federal issues and laws, which are in the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts. State courts are often divided according to the dollar amount of the claims they can hear. Depending on the state, small claims, justice, municipal or city courts usually hear smaller cases, while district, circuit, superior or county courts (or in New York, supreme court) have jurisdiction over larger cases. Finally, state courts are also commonly divided according to subject matter, such as criminal court, family court and probate court.


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