Definition Of The Word Circuit Courts

By | January 4, 2023



Circuit Courts are regional court systems within the United States federal court system that have jurisdiction over matters of both state and federal law. The circuit courts are divided into “circuits” which will usually include several states. These courts are established by Congress and are given authority to hear cases related to diversity of citizenship, bankruptcy, admiralty, and criminal matters.

The concept of Circuit Courts dates back to 1789, when the Judiciary Act of 1789 created the original federal court system. This system was made up of the Supreme Court and three circuits (the First, the Second, and the Third). At that time there were only six states, so it was not difficult for the judges of these courts to travel from one court to another.

As the country expanded, more circuits were created, eventually reaching the current total of thirteen. The number of circuits has remained constant since then, with two exceptions. The Eleventh Circuit was created in 1981 when the Fifth Circuit was split into two. Then in 2012, the Twelfth Circuit was created when the Eleventh Circuit was divided into two.

Each Circuit Court hears appeals from the district courts within its circuit. The appeals may be appeals from the lower court’s final judgment or interlocutory orders. When a case is appealed to the Circuit Court, the judges serving on the court will review the lower court’s record and decide if the lower court’s ruling was correct. They may affirm the decision, reverse it, or take other action as appropriate.

Most Circuit Courts follow a three-judge panel system. This means that three judges review each appeal and vote on the outcome. If the judges cannot reach a majority decision, the case is sent to the full court. This is known as an en banc hearing. All of the judges from the Circuit Court will review the case and the majority opinion will become the ruling.

Circuit Courts are important because they provide a way for people to appeal their cases up to the federal level without having to go through the Supreme Court. This helps to ensure that all sides of a legal dispute receive a fair hearing. It also helps to reduce the burden on the Supreme Court, which would otherwise be forced to hear every single case appealed to them.


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