The Superior Court division has original jurisdiction over all felony criminal cases, civil cases involving more than $25,000, and misdemeanor and infraction appeals from the district court. However, due to an amendment, from August 1, 2013, through June 30, 2015, both the district court and the superior court have jurisdiction over the trial of civil actions in which the amount in controversy is between $10,000 and $25,000.
The constitution stipulates that a jury of 12 renders the verdict for any criminal defendant who pleads not guilty. In civil cases, a judge generally will decide the case without a jury, unless a party to the case requests one.
Superior court is divided into five divisions and 48 districts across the state. Every six months, superior court judges rotate among the districts within their divisions. The rotation system is provided for by the state constitution and designed to minimize conflicts of interest that might result from having a permanent judge in one district.
The North Carolina Business Court is a specialized forum of the North Carolina state courts’ superior court division. Cases involving complex and significant issues of corporate and commercial law in our state are assigned by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina to a special superior court judge who oversees resolution of all matters in the case through trial.