New Hampshire Courts

new hampshire courts

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Superior Courts sit in each of New Hampshire’s ten counties. Hillsborough County, being the most populous, is divided into Northern and Southern Districts, with separate Superior Courts in each. Each of the other nine counties has one facility, usually at or near the County seat.

Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over a wide variety of legal matters. Their civil jurisdiction applies to all cases above $1,500. They are the only state trial courts that can hear civil jury trials and the only trial courts that have unlimited power to grant injunctions or other types of equitable relief.

There are 32 circuit courts in New Hampshire. These courts are established by New Hampshire Statute and have only the jurisdiction conveyed to them by the Legislature. Although they are therefore considered as having “limited” jurisdiction, their place in the judicial process has evolved and expanded to the point that their power and status is now comparable to the Superior Courts in many respects. Each court has civil jurisdiction over claims where one of the parties resides within the circuit. That jurisdiction applies to claims up to a maximum of $25,000.

In addition to its regular civil cases, the circuit courts have a concurrent small claims process on claims up to $10,000. This is an informal process, involving a minimal filing fee, no pretrial discovery and virtually no pretrial motion practice.