by Michael Crowell
The North Carolina State Bar Journal, Summer 2016 edition
This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the district court in North Carolina. The first district courts, part of the new statewide unified General Court of Justice, opened in 1966 in six districts and 23 counties, replacing a scramble of county courts, recorders courts, justices of the peace, and the like. Over the next four years the district court spread to the rest of the state.
While we celebrate 1966 as the birthdate, the creation of district court really began over a decade earlier in 1955. And the process was not completed until the 1970s. The story is a reminder of the perseverance required for meaningful court reform.