The Judiciary of the State of New Jersey has the following Divisions
- Supreme Court is the Highest Court
- Appellate Division Court is the intermediate court
- County Courts
- Municipal Court and
- Tax Court
- The New Jersey Supreme Court is the highest court in the State and as per the State Constitution, it has exclusive authority over the regulation of the practice of law in New Jersey.
- The Supreme Court reviews the decisions of New Jersey's other courts and interprets the State and Federal constitutions and laws enacted by the State Legislature.
- An appeal may be made to the Supreme Court if there is a split decision in the Appellate Division of Superior Court or if a substantial constitutional issue is involved in the case.
- Death penalty cases are appealed directly to the Supreme Court from the trial court.
- The Supreme Court also hears other cases of its choosing.
APPELLATE DIVISION COURT (INTERMIDIATE COURT)
- Appellate division courts are established to hear the appeals and review from the trial courts.
- Appeals or motions for leave to appeal, are generally arise from judgments or orders by the trial Court.
- An appeal from the Judgment and order of the Court may be filed with in 45 days from the date that judgment or order.
- If all issues as to all parties are not closed out at trial, the judgment, order or decision is interlocutory in such instances, a motion for leave to appeal may be made, asking the court to consider the matter before it is final.
COUNTY SUPERIOR COURTS
County Superior Court deal with the following types of civil cases namely:
- Automobile Negligence
- Book Account
- Breach of Contract
- Civil Rights
- Class Action
- Commercial Transaction
- Personal Injury
- Products Liability
- Professional Liability
The County Superior Court is dived into two parts for dealing with the civil cases
- The Civil Part of the Law Division
- The Special Civil Part of the Law Division
- General Equity
The Civil Part of the Law Division
- The Civil-Part of the Law Division generally has the jurisdiction over the suits seeking money damages or other relief by individuals or corporate litigants.
- There is no limit on the amount of damages that may be sought in this court.
- It also offers a system of Complementary Dispute Resolution (CDR) options, which are available to attorneys and litigants as they search for timely and economical methods to resolve disputes. These programs may include:
- Statutory arbitration for automobile, personal injury and commercial cases.
- Voluntary Binding Arbitration for verbal threshold cases.
- Presumptive Mediation Program
The Special Civil Part of the Law Division
- This Division has as very limited jurisdiction and divided into three subsections:
- Special Civil,
- Small Claims, and
- The Special Civil Part deals with the cases where the claim amount does not exceed $15,000.
- The cases which may be filed with this part may involve breach of contract, property damage for a motor vehicle accident, faulty workmanship, bad checks, landlord/tenant disputes, return of a tenant's security deposit, claims for back rent and professional malpractice.
- Special Civil division deal with cases of more complicated nature, will return a higher judgment award (up to $15,000.00), require an attorney for corporate litigants and an answer to the complaint must be filed before trial listing. Mediation of these disputes is mandatory and is scheduled on the day of trial before trial commences.
- The Small Claims division has a statutory limitation for award of $3,000.00. Mediation of these disputes is also mandatory on the day of trial before trial commences.
- The Landlord/Tenant division is reserved for the resolution of differences between property owners and those that rent or lease their property.
- General Equity Division deals with the cases of such an unusual nature that they all proceed before a judge, without a jury, for direct interpretation of the law.
- The cases handled by General Equity are
- civil rights,
- employment discrimination,
- specific performance of contracts, and
- labor disputes.
The Surrogates Court handles the following:
- Appointment of Administrators
- Contested Wills & Probate Matters
- Minor's funds (deposits & withdrawals)
- Probate of Wills
- Appointment of Guardians
- Estate Accounting
- Estate Searches
• TAX COURT
- The Tax Court has jurisdiction over
- Local property tax assessments
- State tax assessments
- Equalization tables promulgated by the director of the Division of
- Taxation or the County Boards of Taxation.
• MUNICIPAL COURT
- The Municipal Court is a local court created by state law, whose jurisdiction is confined to the city or community in which it is located.
- Municipal Court Judge. Other court personnel may include the Court Administrator, Deputy Court Administrator, Violations Clerk, and Sound Recorder.
- Cases heard in municipal court are divided into four general categories:
- Violations of motor vehicle and traffic laws,
- Violations of disorderly and petty disorderly persons offenses, (criminal matters which may result in fines or jail),
- Violations of Fish and Game laws, Parks and Forests, Weights and Measures, SPCA, and Boating Regulations,
- Violations of municipal ordinances (local laws).
- More serious offenses, known as indictable offenses, are sent to the County Prosecutor's Office. He decides whether to present the case to a Grand Jury or to return the case to the municipal court as a less serious offense (a downgrade).
- If the defendant does not agree with the court's decision, he/she may appeal to the County Superior Court.
The appeal does not involve a new trial, new testimony or new witnesses may be considered.
The Superior Court reviews the transcript of the municipal court trial and the decision of the Municipal Court Judge and passes its decision accordingly. An appeal must be filed within twenty (20) days of the Municipal Court Judge's decision.
Lawyer Referral Service: This service provides legal referrals in a particular field of law in which the client needs help. Attorneys will have initial consultation with client for a reduced consultation fee.