district court


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District Court

A designation of an inferior state court that exercises general jurisdiction that it has been granted by the constitution or statute which created it. A U.S. judicial tribunal with original jurisdiction to try cases or controversies that fall within its limited jurisdiction.

A state district might, for example, determine civil actions between state residents based upon contract violations or tortious conduct that occurred within the state.

Federal district courts are located in places designated by federal law, hearing cases in at least one place in every state. Most federal cases, whether civil actions or criminal prosecutions for violations of federal law, commence in district court. Cases arising under the Constitution, federal law, or treaty, or cases between citizens of different states, must also involve an interest worth more than $75,000 before the district court can exercise its jurisdiction.

The federal district courts also have original and exclusive jurisdiction of Bankruptcy cases, and admiralty, maritime, and prize cases, which determine rights in ships and cargo captured at sea. State courts are powerless to hear these kinds of controversies.

A party can appeal a decision made in district court in the Court of Appeal.

Cross-references

Federal Courts.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

district court

n. 1) in the federal court system, a trial court for federal cases in a court district, which is all or a portion of a state. 2) a local court in some states. (See: court)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

district court

1 in Scotland a court of summary jurisdiction held by a stipendiary magistrate or one or more justices of the peace to deal with minor criminal offences.
2 in the USA a federal trial court serving a federal judicial district or in some states a court having general jurisdiction in a state judicial district.
3 in Australia and New Zealand a court lower than a high court.
4 a court in the Republic of Ireland.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

DISTRICT COURT. The name of one of the courts of the United States. It is held by a judge, called the district judge. Several courts under the same name have been established by state authority. Vide Courts of the United States.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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