Who They Are
The judicial system is composed of the appellate courts and the trial courts (superior courts and local courts). The appellate courts consist of the: Court of Appeals, Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Appellate Terms of the Supreme Court, Appellate Sessions of the County Court.
The superior courts consist of the: Supreme Court, County Court, Specialized Courts (Family Court, Surrogate’s Court, Court of Claims).
The inferior courts consist of the local courts: District Court, New York City courts (Civil Court, Criminal Court)
City Courts, Justice Courts (town and village courts).
Who They Serve
The criminal court begins at with the courts of original instance; namely the Town and Villages Courts (Justice Courts), the two city courts (Criminal and Civil Court), The NYC Criminal Court, District Court, County Courts, and Supreme Court. The second level of the criminal branch is the Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court, the Appellate Terms of the Supreme Court 1st & 2nd Departments, and the Appellate level of the County Courts. Presiding over the criminal court system is the Albany-based Court of Appeals; New York State’s highest court.
The civil division
begins similarly, with Justice Courts, City Courts, District Courts, County Courts, and Supreme Court. This tier also includes the NYC Civil Courts, Surrogate’s Court, Family Courts, and the Court of Claims. The second tier also includes both the Appellate Terms of the Supreme Court 1st & 2nd Departments and the Appellate level of the County Courts. In the top tier, the only stop before New York State’s highest court is the Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court. Once appealed from there, criminals appealing their case will be under the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals.