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A specific tribunal that possesses the legal authority to hear cases within its own geographical territory.
A circuit court is ordinarily an inferior trial-level court; appeals are heard by superior courts possessing the requisite jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a circuit court generally extends over a number of counties or districts wherein the court sits.
The name circuit court can be traced historically to the period when a single judge rode the circuit to hold trials in each county within the designated territory. In geographical locations with small populations, this method of dispensing justice eliminates the expense of providing every small village with its own judiciary.
Circuit Courtthe court in the Republic of Ireland above the District Court, which has both civil and criminal jurisdiction. The country is divided into eight circuits, in each of which there are several towns in which the court sits. In civil matters the judge hears cases without a jury, can award compensation and deal with issues relating to land where the rateable value of the land does not exceed ₠252.95. As a criminal court, it can deal with indictable offences referred to it by the District Court, when a judge sits with a jury. Certain serious criminal cases, of which the most common are murder and rape, may only be tried in the Central Criminal Court in Dublin. The Circuit Court hears appeals in both criminal and civil cases from the District Court, which take the form of a rehearing of the case. Appeals from the decisions of a circuit judge in a civil case are to the High Court and from it to the Supreme Court. In a criminal case, appeal is to the Court of Criminal Appeal and then the Supreme Court. The Circuit Court handles appeals from the Labour Court, Unfair Dismissals Tribunal and the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
CIRCUIT COURT. The name of a court of the United States, which has both civil and criminal jurisdiction. In several of the states there are courts which bear this name. Vide Courts of the United States.