Knowledge — 5 months ago

Michigan Judicial System

by Billy T.K.

Michigan Judicial System, Judicial System

Michigan Judicial System and Court System: How Does it Work?

Article 6, Section 1 of Michigan’s Constitution which was drafted in 1963 introduced the concept of “One Court of Justice” in Michigan. “One Court of Justice” means that the judicial system can work as one unit which is made up of different courts. Each court performs its role with their roles all being distinct.

Michigan became a state in 1837 which resulted in the citizens of that time adopting a state constitution which persists to this day and includes the judicial branch of government.

What does the Michigan court system look like?

If you’ve ever seen a pyramid, you’ll be able to visualize Michigan’s court system. The lowest rung of the pyramid consists of the local courts. Most cases begin their journey at local courts. Local courts have different names. Each court’s responsibilities differ from each other and affect their names.  

Many cases begin and conclude the local courts. There aren't many cases which end up moving up the court ladder to the Court of Appeals. A case which is serious and doesn't get resolved in the Court of Appeals lands up in the Michigan Supreme Court. Very few cases end up here.

Michigan Judicial System

Information about the different courts in Michigan

  • Michigan Supreme Court – The Michigan Supreme Court sits on the highest rung of the ladder of different courts in Michigan. There are seven Justices in the Michigan Supreme Court. Out of these seven Justices, one Justice is elected by all the other Justices to be the Chief Justice. People who are dissatisfied with the Michigan Court of Appeals decision on their lawsuit can ask the Michigan Supreme Court to hear an appeal from them.
  • Michigan Court of Appeals – Compared to the other courts, the Michigan Court of Appeals is the new kid on the block. The court began in 1965 and sits as an intermediate court in between the Circuit Court and the Supreme Court. If the decision of the Circuit Court dissatisfies a person, they can make their way over to the Court of Appeals. People who lose in Circuit Court have the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals. In the Court of Appeals, the case will be decided upon by three judges. Majority wins in this Court. If two out of three judges are in agreement, they will overrule the other judge's decision.
Judicial System
  • Local Courts
    • Circuit Court – The Circuit Court is a general trial court. All civil cases which involve more than $25,000, all felony cases, all serious misdemeanor criminal cases, as well as all family cases, are handled by the Circuit Court. There is a Family Division which holds jurisdiction over all proceedings regarding divorce, child custody, child support, paternity, adoptions, name changes, juvenile proceedings, emancipation of minors, parental consent and personal protection proceedings. 
      • Probate Court – Wills, administration of estates and trusts, the order of treatment for developmentally disabled people as well as guardian appointment and conservators are all handled by the Probate Court.
      • District/Municipal Court – Most traffic violations, as well as both criminal and civil cases which include the likes of small claims as well as landlord-tenant disputes, are handled by the District Court.
      • Small Claims Court – The District Court handles cases of $6,000 or less.
      • Court of Claims – The court of claims hears and determines all civil actions which are filed against the State of Michigan as well as its agencies.

Learning more about the Michigan Court System can put you in a much better position in Michigan court cases.

 


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