is the name of court systems in
several common law
Originally it meant a court that would hold sessions in multiple
locations within its judicial district; the judge or judges would
travel in a circuit in order to adjudicate cases across a wide
area. Especially on the United States frontier, a judge might
travel alone on horseback along with a group of lawyers.
was one such
attorney who would ride the circuit in Illinois. In more settled
areas, a stagecoach
would be used.
Eventually the legal caseload in a county would become great enough
to warrant the establishment of a local judiciary. Most of these
local judicial circuits have been thus replaced.
Republic of Ireland
Ireland a "circuit court" is part of the Courts of
First Instance, which replaced the Assize Court used before the Irish Free State reformed the justice
The circuit court system includes a judge and jury
system, but is not allowed to hear, among others, murder, treason
or rape cases. The civil jurisdiction of the court is limited to
damages of €38,092 and actions involving land with a ratable value
of less than €254 (Land value worth approx. €3 million).
The United States circuit
States federal courts
established in each federal judicial
. These circuit courts exercised both original
(first instance) 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
The name "circuit court" is also informally used to refer to
today's court of appeals; those courts were officially known as
United States circuit courts of appeals
establishment in 1894 until their name was changed to United
States courts of appeals
Many U.S. states
have state courts
called "circuit courts." Most are
, original jurisdiction
Louisiana, the intermediate appellate courts are called the Louisiana Circuit Courts of
There are five separate judicial circuits.
states, such as Missouri, a judicial circuit can encompass one or more
counties (see Missouri Circuit Courts).
Each circuit court can have several divisions, including circuit,
associate, small claims
, family or drug court. Each division hears
cases within its particular area of subject-matter jurisdiction
jurisdiction is based on the size or type of a civil claim, or the
severity or type of a criminal charge. Drug
, for example, hears only drug-related criminal
England and Wales
England and Wales is divided into six regions or Circuits
for the purposes of the administration of justice.
- Northern Circuit
- North Eastern Circuit
- Wales and Chester Circuit (also known as Wales and
- Midland Circuit
- Western Circuit
- South Eastern Circuit .
The system is overseen by the Lord
. The membership consists of High Court Judges,
Circuit Judges, District Judges, law practitioners and academic
lawyers. The Circuits also form the basis for administration of the
Bar in England and Wales. The Circuit Bars are represented on the
Bar Council through the Circuit Leaders. .
The Western Circuit covers an area from just west of Guildford to
the tip of Cornwall. The Wine Treasurer is a traditional title for
the person in charge of social arrangements.
circuit office is run by the circuit secretary in Winchester.
A newsletter is published each term.
The Circuit has published three books, Pie Powder
; and Recollections of the Western
The Wales and Chester circuit has been disbanded following the
Government of Wales Act
. Wales now has its own circuit in readiness for any 'Welsh
laws' passed by the National Assembly for Wales