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New York StateUnified Court System


Supreme Court is the trial court of unlimited original jurisdiction, but it generally only hears cases that are outside the jurisdiction of other trial courts of more limited jurisdiction. It exercises civil jurisdiction and jurisdiction over felony charges.

The Family Court hears matters involving children and families. Its jurisdiction includes: custody and visitation, support, family offense (domestic violence), persons in need of supervision, delinquency, child protective proceedings (abuse and neglect),foster care approval and review, termination of parental rights, adoption and guardianship.

The Surrogate’s Court hears cases involving the affairs of decedents, including the probate of wills and the administration of estates, and adoptions.

The Civil Court of the City of New York has jurisdiction over civil cases involving amounts up to $25,000 and other civil matters referred to it by the Supreme Court. It includes a small claims part for informal dispositions of matters not exceeding $5,000 and a housing part for landlord-tenant matters and housing code violations.

The Criminal Court of the City of New York has jurisdiction over misdemeanors and violations. Judges of the Criminal Court also act as arraigning magistrates and conduct preliminary hearings in felony cases.

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