New Hampshire State Courts

Courts – State Courts – New Hampshire

Highest Court

The highest court in New Hampshire is the Supreme Court of New Hampshire.  The Supreme Court consists of 5 justices. It has jurisdiction over (1) Final appellate jurisdiction. (2) Original jurisdiction for issuance of extraordinary writs and superintendence of lower courts.

General Courts

Superior Court
The Superior Court consists of 29 judges.  It has jurisdiction over (1) Civil actions over $1,500, title to real property, equity, divorce, support, and alimony.

Limited Courts

District Court
The District Court consists of 15 full-time justices, 3 associate justices, and 33 special justices. It has jurisdiction over (1) Civil actions under $36,000 (no title to real property), small claims (if no Municipal Court), landlord/tenant. (2) Misdemeanors, violations, and probable cause hearings for felonies. (3) Juveniles. (4) Concurrent jurisdiction with Superior Court on domestic violence.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Probate Court
The Probate Court consists of 10 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Exclusive probate, adoption, guardianship, and conservatorship jurisdiction. (2) Termination of parental rights. (3) Involuntary commitments.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Additional Information

New Hampshire Court Accreditation Commission.
The New Hampshire Court Accreditation Commission shall consist of 9 members.  One of the members shall be appointed by the governor, one shall be a member of the house appointed by the speaker, one shall be a member of the senate appointed by the senate president, and six shall be appointed by the supreme court.  Of the 6 members appointed by the supreme court, one shall be a justice of the supreme court or a designee of the supreme court, one shall be a justice of the superior court, one shall be a justice of a probate court, one shall be a justice of a district court, one shall be a lawyer of experience in the trial of cases at all court levels, and one shall be a layman. The supreme court shall designate one of the members as chairman. (New Hampshire Revised Statutes  490:5-a)

Rating; Accreditation.
The New Hampshire Court Accreditation Commission shall rate each court as “accredited-excellent”, “accredited – satisfactory”, “not accredited”, or rate the courts according to the commission’s system which shall reflect the said categories.  If the court develops its own system, it must be in accordance with the criteria of RSA 490:5-c.  The ratings shall be available to the public and transmitted in written form to each court.  (New Hampshire Revised Statutes 490:5-d)

Sessions.
There shall be one general term of the supreme court in each year to be held in Concord for the purpose of hearing arguments, making orders, rendering decisions and filing opinions. (New Hampshire Revised Statutes 490:6)

Use of Recording Devices.
Either party before or during a hearing or trial may present a petition to the court to request the recording of the proceedings at the petitioner’s expense. The court is not allowed to levy a fee for the recording.  (New Hampshire Revised Statutes Section 491:10-a)

Record of Birth
A judge shall not exercise the duties of his/her office or receive any compensation until the Office of the Secretary of State has received a copy of the judge’s birth certificate.  The record of birth must be attested by the clerk of the birth town.  If such record is not available, an affidavit, sworn to and subscribed by himself, stating, according to the best of his/her belief, the date and place of his birth. (New Hampshire Revised Statutes 493:1)

Destruction of Records.
The following original records shall be destroyed by the clerk of any municipal court of any criminal cases or any juvenile proceedings at the end of 10 years of the final disposition: complaints, warrants, petitions and other process, returns, appearances, pleadings, motions, reports, orders and sentences.
Twenty years after of the final disposition of a civil case, the clerk of such court may destroy the originals writs, returns, small claims, statements and other process, appearances, pleadings, motions, orders, verdicts and judgments. (New Hampshire Revised Statutes 502:15-a)

Ordering Weekly Payments
Municipal court of a population of less than 1,500 inhabitants may issue a continuing judgment to order the defendant to pay weekly on a litigated claim of a certain sum.  The amount of the payment shall be dependent upon the income and shall take into consideration living expenses.
(New Hampshire Revised Statutes 502:22)


Inside New Hampshire State Courts