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Delaware State Courts

Courts – State Courts – Delaware

Highest Court

The highest court in Delaware is the Supreme Court of Delaware.  The Supreme Court consists of 1 chief justice and 4 justices. It has jurisdiction over (1) Final appellate jurisdiction (2) Board on Professional Responsibility. (3) Advisory opinions.

General Courts

Court of Chancery
The Court of Chancery consists of 1 chancellor and 4 vice chancellors. It has jurisdiction over (1) Exclusive jurisdiction over all equity cases, real property disputes, commercial matters, contractual matters, guardianships, trusts, and estates.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Superior Court
The Superior Court consists of 1 President Judge and 18 Associate Judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Original civil (except equity) jurisdiction. Involuntary commitments of mentally ill. (2) Original criminal jurisdiction and exclusive felony and drug offense jurisdiction.
Appeals on record from Family Court and Court of Common Pleas and administrative agencies.
Appeals de novo from JP Civil and Arbitration Panels.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Limited Courts

Court of Common Pleas
The Court of Common Pleas consists of 1 Chief Judge and 8 Associate Judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Civil actions up to $50,000 and no limit in amount to counterclaim. (2) Preliminary hearings. (3) Appeals from JP and Alderman Courts. (4) Merged with Municipal Court of Wilmington.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Family Court
The Family Court consists of 1 Chief Judge and 14 Associate Judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Divorce, annulment, property division, custody,visitation, child dependency, neglect, abuse, guardianship of a minor, termination of parental rights, adoptions, paternity, paternity, child support, and civil domestic violence protective orders.(2) Intrafamily crimes (excluding felonies).(3) Crimes against children (excluding felonies). (4) Juvenile delinquency (except murder, rape and kidnapping).
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Justice of the Peace Courts
The Justice of the Peace Court consists of 1 Chief Magistrate and 58 Justices of the Peace. It has jurisdiction over (1) Civil actions under $15,000.(2) Minor misdemeanors, committing magistrate in all crimes, and  no criminal jurisdiction in Wilmington. (3) Motor vehicle cases (except felonies). (4) Exclusive jurisdiction in landlord/tenant cases.
No jury trials overseen by this court.

Alderman’s Court
The Alderman’s Court consists of 6 alderman, 1 deputy, and 3 assistants. It has jurisdiction over (1) Minor civil actions in some courts. (2) Minor misdemeanors, municipal ordinance violations, and committing alderman in some courts. (3) Traffic offenses and parking violations.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Additional Information

Statement of Policy
In preparation of a possible attack upon the United States, Title 10, Section 1802 of the Delaware Code provides for special emergency judges who can exercise the powers and discharge the duties of judicial offices in the event regular judges are unavailable.

Deputies and Clerks: Title 10 § 2302.
A Chief Deputy Prothonotary shall be assigned for each county in which a Judge of the Superior Court resides.  The Chief Deputy Prothonotary shall perform such duties assigned by the Judge.  The Judges of the Superior Court resident in the county shall establish the compensation of each chief deputy prothonotary.

Duties; limited authority: Title 10 § 2902
Outlines the duties and jurisdiction of Code Enforcement Constables.

Service and return of summons: Title 10  § 3103
A write of summons is served by an officer that shall state the officer’s return time and manner of service.  The writ of summons may be served on the defendant in a manner ordered by any rule of court, by stating the substance to the defendant personally, or leaving a copy at the defendant’s usual residence in the presence of an adult, 6 days before the return thereof.  Concerning a service of summons for the State or any administrative office, agency, department, board, or commission of the state, it shall not be complete until the service is made to a person of the Attorney General, State Solicitor, or Chief Deputy Attorney General.

Amendment of writs and record:  Title 10  § 4101
After judgment, the court before whom a record is, may order the amendment of any clerical error of writs of scire facias, of execution, and of error. When such is needed, the court may order any amendment that will tend to the furtherance of justice.

Title 10, Part 3  § 4302. Competency to testify
A child under the age of 10 years of age may be excluded from giving testimony for the reason that the child does not understand the obligation of an oath.  A child’s age and his or her ability to understand the obligation of an oath may be considered by the trier of fact in judging the child’s credibility.

Title 10  § 9302. Venue of the Justice of the Peace Court.
The jurisdiction of the Court shall extend throughout the State. Process may be issued out of each county and into each county.

Inside Delaware State Courts