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The State of Minnesota's 87 counties are organized into 10 Judicial Districts. The 4th Judicial District includes only Hennepin County. It is the state's largest trial court, handling over 550,000 cases in 2013. The 62 judges, 15 referees and 525 staff members strive to provide an accessible, fair, courteous, efficient and innovative system of justice. » Learn more about courts in Minnesota.
The Civil Court handles a wide range of non-criminal legal matters, including cases involving contract disputes, peronsal injury, property claims, name changes, implied consent, harassments, and more.
Conciliation Court, also known as "small claims court," is a separate court division that handles civil cases involving claims of of $15,000 or less. The rules and procedures of Conciliation Court are generally easier to understand, and parties can usually represent themselves without a lawyer.
The Criminal Court handles cases in two locations in downtown Minneapolis, and in three suburban locations (Brooklyn Center, Edina, and Minnetonka). The Criminal Division includes Problem-solving and Specialty Courts focused on one case type such as DWI, Drugs, and Domestic Violence.
Family Court handles cases where parties seek court intervention to solve their family issues. Family Court matters include divorce, paternity, domestic abuse, child custody, support and visitation.
Housing Court handles cases involving landlord and tenant disputes. Housing Court is where a landlord can bring an action to remove or "evict" a tenant from a rental property, and it is also where tenants can bring a legal action to enforce their rights.
Juvenile Court handles delinquency and child protection matters involving children under the age of eighteen (18). In delinquency cases, the child is alleged to have committed a violation of Minnesota law, and in child protection cases, the child's parent or guardian is alleged to have created a condition that places the child's health and welfare at risk of harm.
Probate Court has jurisdiction over cases involving the disposition of property belonging to deceased persons; administration of court-supervised trusts; and actions to create guardianships and conservatorships for minor children and incapacitated or incompetent adults.
Mental Health Court is governed by MN Statutes § 253B, and is responsible for deciding whether to commit persons to treatment centers when there are allegations of mental illness, mental retardation, chemical dependency, psychopathic personality and referrals from Criminal Court.
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