Understanding the Civil Court Process
Civil law n. 1. The body of law dealing with the rights of private citizens in a particular state or nation as distinguished from criminal law, military law or international law. The American Heritage Dictionary.
A civil action in court is one whose aim is to protect a private, civil right or to obtain a civil remedy. Civil cases usually involve family issues such as divorce or child custody, or disputes over contracts or personal injury claims. The vast majority of civil court cases are heard in District Court.
The state is divided into 40 districts with 235 District Court judges who hear more than two million cases each year. A jury may be requested for the trial of a civil case before a district court judge.
Generally, District Court judges hear cases involving less than $10,000 in money. Claims in excess of $10,000 are heard in Superior Court. A magistrate decides cases involving less than $5,000, cases considered a small claim action.