The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Circuit court

Circuit courts previously were United States federal courts established in each federal judicial district. The old United States circuit courts exercised both original and appellate jurisdiction. They existed from 1789 to 1912. The original jurisdiction formerly exercised by the United States circuit courts is now exercised by the United States district courts, and their appellate jurisdiction is now exercised by the United States courts of appeals.

The name circuit court is also informally used to refer to a United States court of appeals. Those courts were officially known as United States circuit courts of appeals from their establishment in 1894 until their name was changed to United States courts of appeals in 1947.

In some U.S. states, including Illinois and many of the Southern states, the state court of superior general original jurisdiction is known as the circuit court.

In the Republic of Ireland a circuit court is part of the Courts of First Instance, they replaced the Assize Court used before the Irish Free State reformed the justice system. The circut court system includes and judge and jury system, but is not allowed to hear, among others, murder, treason or rape cases. The court is generally limited to fines of 30,000 (Punt) (about 38,100). See also: Courts of the Republic of Ireland.

Last updated: 10-23-2005 20:34:18
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