The District Court hears a wide range of criminal, civil, housing, juvenile, mental health, and other types of cases. District Court criminal jurisdiction extends to all felonies punishable by a sentence up to five years, and many other specific felonies with greater potential penalties; all misdemeanors; and all violations of city and town ordinances and by-laws.
In civil matters, District Court judges conduct both jury and jury-waived trials, and determine with finality any matter in which the likelihood of recovery does not exceed $25,000. The District Court also tries small claims involving up to $7,000 (initially tried to a magistrate, with a defense right of appeal either to a judge or to a jury).
The District Court's civil jurisdiction also includes many specialized proceedings, including abuse prevention restraining orders and civil motor vehicle infractions (tried initially to a magistrate, with right of appeal to a judge).
The District Court is located in 62 courts across the Commonwealth.
SJC Committee Seeks Lawyer Response in Evaluation of Trial Court Judges in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden Counties
As part of the ongoing program to evaluate and enhance judicial performance, the Supreme Judicial Court is seeking response from attorneys who practice before the District, Superior, Juvenile, Probate and Family, and Housing Courts in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden Counties. The SJC asks that any attorney who receives an email inviting them to log in and complete a questionnaire should take the time to complete it, as the more responses received, the more helpful the judicial evaluations will be. The SJC's evaluation program is the best opportunity for attorneys to offer their opinions of the members of the judiciary in an anonymous, confidential process. The evaluation period is from the beginning of May through June. To learn more, or to get a copy of the questionnaire, click on the "learn more" link below or send an email to Mona.Hochberg@sjc.state.ma.us.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
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- Criminal Information
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- Mission Statement
- Representing Yourself In A Civil Case: Things to Consider When Going to Court
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