Courts System Michigan

  1. Michigan state has three tire court system:
    1. Supreme Court (Highest Court)
    2. Court of Appeal (Intermediate Court)
    3. Trial courts
  2. The state also follows the federal circuit court system.
Circuit Court
  1. The state is divided into judicial circuits along county lines.
  2. The circuit court is the trial court of general jurisdiction in Michigan because of its very broad powers.
  3. The circuit court has jurisdiction over all actions except those given by state law to another court.
  4. The circuit court has original jurisdiction in all
    1. criminal cases where the offense involves a felony or certain serious misdemeanors,
    2. civil cases over $25,000;
    3. family division cases;
    4. appeals from district court, probate court and administrative agencies; and drain code condemnation cases.
  5. The circuit court has superintending control over other courts within the judicial circuit, subject to final superintending control of the Supreme Court.
Family Division of Circuit Court
  1. The family division of the circuit court has exclusive jurisdiction over all family matters such as
    1. divorce,
    2. custody,
    3. parenting time,
    4. support,
    5. paternity,
    6. adoptions,
    7. name changes,
    8. juvenile delinquency and
    9. child protective proceedings,
    10. emancipation of minors,
    11. parental consent waivers, and
    12. personal protection proceedings.
Court of Claims
  1. The Court of Claims has jurisdiction limited to hearing claims against the State of Michigan.
  2. As a general rule, a state cannot be sued without its consent. Michigan granted that consent by establishing the Court of Claims, which has exclusive jurisdiction in all claims; however, the State Administrative Board is vested with discretionary authority in claims under $1,000.
District Court
  1. Citizens have more contact with the district court than any other court in the state.
  2. District court has exclusive jurisdiction of all civil litigation up to $25,000 including landlord-tenant proceedings, land contract forfeitures, small claims, and other summary proceedings.
  3. In the criminal field, district court handles all misdemeanors where punishment does not exceed one year, including the arraignment, setting and acceptance of bail, trial and sentencing.
  4. The district court also conducts preliminary examinations in felony cases.
  5. A small claims division for civil cases up to $3,000 is provided in district court.
  6. In these cases litigants agree to waive their right to a jury, rules of evidence, representation by a lawyer, and the right to appeal from the district judge's decision. If either party objects, the case will be heard by the general civil division of the district court.
  7. Magistrates are appointed by the District Judges.
  8. Magistrates may
    1. set bail and accept bond in criminal matters;
    2. accept guilty pleas; and
    3. sentence for traffic, motor carrier, and snowmobile violations and dog, game, and
    4. marine law violations.
  9. The magistrate may also issue search warrants, and arrest warrants authorized by the prosecutor or municipal attorney.
Small Claims Division
  1. In the small claims division of the district court a lawsuit may brought against anyone who owes the money from the complainant.
  2. He can sue a person or business that has caused damage to your property or possessions. The maximum you can collect through a judgment in small claims court is $3,000.
  3. Small claims courts are designed to operate informally and without attorneys present.
Municipal Court
  1. Municipal Court civil jurisdiction is limited to $1,500 unless the city in which the municipal court is located increases the jurisdictional amount to $3,000 by resolution of the city's legislative body.
Probate Court
  1. There is a probate court in each Michigan County with the exception of ten counties that have consolidated to form five probate court districts.
  2. The probate court has jurisdiction over cases pertaining to admission of wills, administration of estates and trusts, guardianships, conservatorships, and the treatment of mentally ill and developmentally disabled persons.
  1. The Court of Appeals is an "intermediate" appellate court between the Supreme Court and the Michigan trial courts.
  2. Final decisions resulting from a circuit or probate court hearing may be appealed to the Court of Appeals.
  1. The time frame for deciding an appeal depends on various factors. Certain cases, such as child custody matters, are given priority status.
  2. As a general matter, approximately ninety percent of all cases before the Court of Appeals are concluded within 18 months of their filing.
  3. The length of time to complete a case is affected by the time required for preparation of the lower court record, the filing of the parties' briefs, the volume of cases before the Court and the Court staffing resources.
  1. The court fees are set by statute, MCL 600.321.
  2. The filing fee for a claim of appeal, application for leave to appeal, or an original action is $375.
  3. The standard motion fee is $100 for each motion.
  4. A Motion for Immediate Consideration or a Motion to Expedite Appeal requires a fee of $200.


  1. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the state, which hears cases appealed to it from other Michigan courts.
  2. Cases are appealed to the Supreme Court by filing an application for "leave to appeal."
  3. The Supreme Court has the authority to grant or deny any application.
  4. The Supreme Court usually selects cases involving important constitutional issues and questions of public policy.
  5. In addition to its judicial duties, the Supreme Court is also responsible for the general administrative supervision of all courts in the state.
  6. The Supreme Court also establishes rules for practice and procedure in all Michigan courts.
  7. Applications for leave to appeal are to be filed in a signed original and seven copies.
  8. The application must be accompanied by a notice of hearing and proof of service upon opposing counsel.
  9. Only the originals of the notice and proof need be filed.
  10. Responses to applications are filed in a signed original and seven copies with an original proof of service.
  1. Applications: $375 (If the application involves multiple trial court docket numbers, multiples of the fee are charged.)
  2. Motions for immediate consideration: $150
  3. Other motions: $75
  1. As per the Federal Court System United Sates has been divided into 11 circuits having a Courts of Appeal for each circuit, and a District Court and a Bankruptcy Court in each district circuit.
  2. The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest Court and the last resort in this system. Minnesota is in the Second Circuit. Federal Court hears cases involving federal questions.
  3. The U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal hears the appeals from the District and Bankruptcy Court, which are the Trial Courts.
  4. The U.S. Supreme Court hears the appeal from U.S. Circuit Courts as a last resort to the appeal.
  5. If a case involves a right protected by the U.S. Constitution, a party may directly appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  6. The United States Supreme Court hears certain appeals from U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal and exercises original jurisdiction as provided in the U.S. Constitution.
  7. Apart from these a U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reviews civil appeals dealing with minor claims against the U.S. government; appeals in patent-right cases and cases involving inter-national trade disputes.
more than $500.00, or both.