Judiciary of New Jersey





The Judiciary of New Jersey comprises the New Jersey Supreme Court as the state supreme court and many lower courts.

New Jersey's judiciary is unusual in that it still separates cases at law from those in equity, like its neighbor Delaware but unlike most other U.S. states; however, unlike Delaware, the courts of law and equity are formally "divisions" of a single unified lower court of general jurisdiction, and each division may award "limited" relief in the form appropriate to the other division.

Courts



Supreme Court

The New Jersey Supreme Court consists of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices. All are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of a majority of the membership of the State Senate. Justices serve an initial seven-year term, after which they can be reappointed to serve until age 70.

Superior Court, Appellate Division

The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division functions as the state's intermediate appellate court. Superior Court judges are assigned to the Appellate Division by the Chief Justice.

Superior Court

More serious criminal and civil cases are handled by the New Jersey Superior Court for each county. All Superior Court judges are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of a majority of the membership of the State Senate. Each judge serves an initial seven-year term, after which he or she can be reappointed to serve until age 70.

New Jersey's judiciary is unusual in that it still has separate courts of law and equity, like its neighbor Delaware but unlike most other U.S. states. The New Jersey Superior Court is divided into Law and Chancery Divisions at the trial level. However, unlike Delaware, the Law and Chancery Divisions exchange judges relatively freely; they can be and are moved to the other division as needed. Furthermore, the Chancery Division is granted the power to award money damages when appropriate in an action primarily for equitable relief, and the Law Division is granted the power to order limited equitable relief in a suit primarily for money damages, unlike their Delaware counterparts.

Municipal Courts

The Municipal Courts carry out most of the day-to-day work in the New Jersey courts, where simple traffic tickets, minor criminal offenses, and small civil matters are heard. The Municipal Courts in New Jersey are considered courts of limited jurisdiction, having responsibility for motor vehicle and parking tickets, minor criminal-type offenses (for example, simple assault and bad checks), municipal ordinance offenses (such as dog barking or building code violations) and other offenses, such as fish and game violations. A Municipal Court has jurisdiction only over those cases that occur within the boundaries of its municipality. Many serious criminal cases, such as robbery, auto theft, or assault, start out as complaints filed in the Municipal Court, however, those cases are transferred to the Superior Court located at the county courthouse.

Tax Court

The Tax Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. Tax Court judges hear appeals of tax decisions made by County Boards of Taxation. They also hear appeals on decisions made by the Director of the Division of Taxation on such matters as state income, sales and business taxes, and homestead rebates. Appeals from Tax Court decisions are heard in the Appellate Division of Superior Court. Tax Court judges are appointed by the Governor for initial terms of seven years, and upon reappointment are granted tenure until they reach the mandatory retirement age of 70. There are 12 Tax Court judgeships.

See also


Judiciary of New Jersey
  • Government of New Jersey
  • Law of New Jersey
  • Law enforcement in New Jersey

References






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