The courts are divided into four judicial departments and twelve judicial districts. The jurisdiction of each court is established either by Article VI of the New York State Constitution or by statute.

Court of Appeals

Jurisdiction: Highest court of appellate jurisdiction. Reviews only questions of law, except in criminal cases which have imposed a death penalty, or cases in which the Appellate Division found new facts and reversed or modified the trial court's judgment.

Reported in:

New York Reports, 1st, 2d and 3d series (official)

North Eastern Reporter, 1st and 2d series (unofficial)

New York Supplement, 2d (starts in 150 N.Y.S. 2d) and 3d series (unofficial)

Citation: Court identified in citation by reporter name, 26 N.Y.2d 360, 250 N.E.2d 600, 303 N.Y.S.2d 78 (1971)

Justices: Appointed by the Governor

Location: Albany

Appellate Division

Jurisdiction: Intermediate appellate jurisdiction. Original jurisdiction in matters concerning admission to the bar and supervision of attorneys; habeas corpus proceedings; mandamus proceedings against judges of the Supreme Courts.

Reported in:

New York Appellate Division Reports, 1st, 2d and 3d series (official)

New York Supplement, 1st, 2d and 3d (unofficial)

Citation: Department is identified in the parenthetical, 14 App. Div. 2d 64, 260 N.Y.S.2d 218 (NUMBER Dep't 1968)

Justices: Elected to the Supreme Court and then designated by the Governor

Location: State is divided into four departments:

First - New York and Bronx counties

Second - Kings, Queens, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, and Rockland counties

Third - Albany area counties

Fourth - Rochester area counties

Supreme Court, Appellate Term (Sup. Ct. App. T.)

Jurisdiction: Intermediate appellate jurisdiction. Reviews decisions from the Civil Court of New York City and other lower trial courts in the First and Second Departments. Appeals can be made to the Appellate Division.

Reported in:

New York Miscellaneous Reports, 1st, 2d  and 3d series (official)

New York Supplement, 1st, 2d and 3d series (unofficial)

Citation: Department is identified in the parenthetical, 89 Misc. 2d 27, 400 N.Y.S.2d 183 (Sup. Ct. App. T. NUMBER Dep't 1989)

Justices: Assigned from the lower trial courts

Location: First and Second Departments

County Court (County Ct.)

Jurisdiction: Original jurisdiction for criminal and civil claims up to $25,000. Has appellate jurisdiction in the Third and Fourth Departments for cases from City, Town and Village Courts. Appeals are made to the Appellate Division, except in the Second Department where appeals (except for felony cases) go to the Supreme Court, Appellate Term.

Reported in:

New York Miscellaneous Reports 1st, 2d and 3d series (official)

New York Supplement, 1st,2d and 3d series (unofficial)

Citation: County name is included in the parenthetical, 82 Misc. 2d 310, 390 N.Y.S.2d 12 (COUNTY NAME County Ct. 1979)

Justices: Elected

Location: All counties outside of New York City

Supreme Court (Sup. Ct.)

Jurisdiction: Original general civil and criminal jurisdiction. Appeals go to the Appellate Division.

Reported in:

New York Miscellaneous Reports 1st, 2d and 3d series (official)

New York Supplement, 1st, 2d and 3d series (unofficial)

Citation: Court is identified in the parenthetical, 39 Misc. 2d 421, 245 N.Y.S.2d 18 (Sup. Ct. COUNTY NAME County 1962)

Justices: Elected

Location: Each county

Commercial Division

The Commercial Division is a part of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Branches of the Division are located in the counties of Albany, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, New York, Suffolk and Westchester. The Commercial Division handles complicated commercial cases. In the various counties the Division has issued guidelines or rules defining the cases that are accepted for filing in the Division. 

Court of Claims  (Ct. Cl.) 

Jurisdiction: Original jurisdiction statewide over claims against the State or by the State against a claimant. Governed by the Court of Claims Act. Appeals are made to the Appellate Division.

Reported in:

New York Miscellaneous Reports, 1st, 2d and 3d series (official)

New York Supplement 1st, 2d and 3d series (unofficial)

Citation: Court name is included in the parenthetical, 94 Misc. 2d 318, 421 N.Y.S.2d 46 (Ct. Cl. 1981)

Justices: Appointed by the Governor

Location: Albany

Surrogate's Court (Sur. Ct.)

Jurisdiction: Original jurisdiction in matters relating to decedents estates, intervivos trusts, will probates, administration of estates, and guardianship of the property of a minor. Appeals are made to the Appellate Division.

Reported in:

New York Miscellaneous Reports 1st, 2d and 3d series (official)

New York Supplement, 1st, 2d and 3d series (unofficial)

Citation: Court name is included in the parenthetical, 24 Misc. 2d 300, 202 N.Y.S.2d 650 (Sur. Ct. COUNTY NAME County 1961)

Justices: Elected

Location: Each county

Family Court (Family Ct.)

Jurisdiction: Original jurisdiction over abuse, adoption, custody, family offenses, guardianship, juvenile delinquency, paternity, support. No jurisdiction over matrimonial matters (divorce, separation, annulment) which are in the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Governed by the Family Court Act. Appeals go to the Appellate Division.

Reported in:

New York Miscellaneous Reports, 2d and 3d series (official)

New York Supplement, 2d and 3d series (unofficial)

Citation: Court is identified in the parenthetical, 78 Misc. 2d 210, 350 N.Y.S.2d 54 (Family Ct. COUNTY NAME County 1975)

Justices: Elected, except in New York where the Mayor appoints

Location: Each county, except in New York City where there is one court with a division for each county.

NEW YORK CITY

Criminal Court of the City of New York (N.Y.C. Crim. Ct.)

Jurisdiction: Misdemeanors and other lesser offenses. Governed by the New York City Criminal Court Act. Appeals are made to the Supreme Court, Appellate Term.

Reported in:

New York Miscellaneous Reports, 2d and 3d series (official)

New York Supplement, 2d and 3d series (unofficial)

Citation: County name is included in the parenthetical, 101 Misc. 2d 215, 457 N.Y.S.2d 22 (N.Y.C. Crim. Ct. COUNTY NAME County 1984)

Justices: Appointed by the Mayor

Location: Each borough of New York City

Civil Court of the City of New York (N.Y.C. Civ. Ct.)

Jurisdiction: Civil claims up to $25,000. Governed by the New York City Civil Court Act. Appeals are made to the Supreme Court, Appellate Term.

Reported in:

New York Miscellaneous Reports, 1st, 2d and 3d series (official)

New York Supplement, 1st, 2d and 3d series (unofficial)

Citation: County name is included in the parenthetical, 80 Misc. 2d 176, 457 N.Y.S.2d 510 (N.Y.C. Civ. Ct. COUNTY NAME County 1980)

Justices: Elected

Location: Each borough of New York City

Outside NEW YORK CITY

District Court (Dist. Ct.)

Jurisdiction: Original jurisdiction of civil claims up to $15,000, misdemeanors, and other lesser offenses. Governed by the Uniform District Court Act. Appeals are made to the County Court.

Reported in:

New York Miscellaneous Reports, 1st, 2d and 3d series (official)

New York Supplement, 1st, 2d and 3d series (unofficial)

Citation: Court name is included in the parenthetical, 92 Misc. 2d 10, 400 N.Y.S.2d 366 (Dist. Ct. COUNTY NAME County 1982)

Justices: Elected

Location: Nassau County; western part of Suffolk County

City Court (City Ct.)

Jurisdiction: Original jurisdiction of civil claims up to $15,000, misdemeanors. Governed by Uniform City Court Act. Appeals are made to the County Court.

Reported in:

New York Miscellaneous Reports, 1st, 2d and 3d series (official)

Citation: Court name is included in the parenthetical, 8 Misc. 2d 93, 165 N.Y.S.2d 500 (CITY NAME City Ct. 1957)

Justices: Elected

Location: 61 cities outside of New York City

Town and Village Courts (Town Ct.; Village Ct.)

Jurisdiction: Civil actions up to $3,000, misdemeanors. Governed by Uniform Justice Court Act. Appeals are made to the County Court, unless an Appellate Term has been set up to hear them.

Reported in:

New York Miscellaneous Reports, 1st, 2d and 3d series (official)

New York Supplement, 1st, 2d and 3d series (unofficial)

Citation: Town or Village name is included in the parenthetical, 64 Misc. 2d 19, 321 N.Y.S.2d 411 (TOWN NAME Town Ct. 1970)

Justices: Elected

Location: Most towns and villages

Search for opinions in the Official Reports from the New York State Law Reporting Bureau.