Celebrating the North Carolina

Judicial Branch

Unified Courts

The North Carolina Constitution establishes the Judicial Branch as an distinctively separate and co-equal branch of state government with the legislative and executive branches. North Carolina’s court system, called the General Court of Justice, is a state operated and state-funded unified court system.

NCAOC

The 1962 amendment of the State Constitution that created the current Judicial Branch also establishes the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) to support this third branch of government.

District Court

District courts hear cases involving civil, criminal, and juvenile matters, as well as appeals from the magistrate. Like superior court, district court sits in the county seat of each county. It may also sit in certain other cities and towns specifically authorized by the General Assembly.

Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals is the state’s intermediate appellate court that decides questions of law in cases appealed from superior and district courts and from some administrative agencies of the executive branch.

Superior Court

All felony criminal cases, civil cases involving more than $25,000, and misdemeanor and infraction appeals from district court are tried in superior court. Business court is a specialized forum that hears cases involving complex and significant issues of corporate and commercial law.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of North Carolina is the state's highest court, and there is no further appeal in the state from its decisions. The Court hears appeals of the decisions from the other divisions of the General Court of Justice as well as appeals of the decisions of some other state agencies.

Celebrating 50 years

as a unified court system

North Carolina's court system, called the General Court of Justice,

is a state operated and state-funded unified court system. 

NCAOC 

District Court

Unified Courts

Court of Appeals

Superior Court

Supreme Court

A Word from

Chief Justice Mark Martin

Our state's unified court system handles approximately three million cases each year; cases that help keep our citizens safe, our economy vibrant, and our rights and liberties secure. These are important milestones for our court system, and they are great opportunities for North Carolinians to reflect on the importance of the rule of law and the fair and impartial administration of justice. Thank you for your interest in our courts and your commitment to the rule of law and justice for all.

Commemorating our Journey throughout History

Under the North Carolina Constitution, the Judicial Branch is established as an equal branch of government with the legislative and executive branches. North Carolina’s court system, called the General Court of Justice, is a unified statewide and state-operated system. Before 1966, North Carolina operated under a hybrid court system with a supreme court (the appellate court) and a superior court (general jurisdiction trial court), funded by the State and uniform statewide. 

Legislation was passed in 1965 to reorganize the court system according to the new Article IV, and the system began operation in 1966. Jurisdiction of the courts of North Carolina is now uniform throughout the state. 

Connect with us!

Celebrate with us on social media or contact us by court for any questions or to request a speaker.
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