Rhode Island State Courts

Courts – State Courts – Rhode Island

Highest Court

The highest court in Rhode Island is the Supreme Court of  Rhode Island.  The Supreme Court consists of 5 justices. It has jurisdiction over (1) Final civil and criminal appellate jurisdiction.

General Courts

Superior courts
The Superior Court consist of 22 justices; 4 magistrates.  It has jurisdiction over (1) Civil actions over $5,000,equity, condemnations, and naturalization.(2) All felonies and misdemeanor appeals.(3) Zoning Board appeals and probate appeals.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Limited Courts

District Court
The District Court consists of 13 judges;2 magistrates. It has jurisdiction over (1) Civil actions under $10,000,small claims, and mental health.(2) Housing code violations.(3) Violation offenses, misdemeanors, and felony arraignments.(4) administrative agency appeals.
No Jury trials are overseen by this court.

Family Court
The family courts consists of 12 judges and 7 magistrates. It has jurisdiction over (1) Domestic relations, nonsupport, and paternity. (2) Adult crimes against juveniles.(3) Juvenile delinquency, mental health, and traffic.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Traffic Tribunal
The Traffic courts consists of 4 judges and  3 magistrates. It has jurisdiction over (1) All non-criminal matters regarding traffic cases.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Workers’ Compensation Court
The Workers’ Compensation Court consists of 10 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) All controversies regarding workers’ compensation claims.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Additional Information

Written opinions
The supreme court shall issue written opinions in all cases in which new points of law, pleading,or practice occur or in which the opinion is of high importance.  Three copies shall be prepared and filed by the secretary of court with the clerk of the court.The reporter , the plaintiffs, and teh defendants shall each get a copy.  Also the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the house, majority leaders and minority leaders of both house, and the senate and the chairperson of house and senate committees on judiciary  should receive a certified true copy. (Rhode Island General Laws § 8-1-3)

Printing of reports
The Rhode Island Reports shall be prepaired and printed when at least 600 pages of information and material has been compiled. (Rhode Island General Laws § 8-1-7)

Judicial conference of Rhode Island
The judicial conference of Rhode Island is composed of all the justices of the supreme, superior, district courts, and family courts of Rhode Island and other such members as the supreme court deems necessary.  The judicial conference is created for the consideration of matters relating to judicial buniness, the improvement of the judicial system, and the administrationof justice.
(Rhode Island General Laws § 8-1-9)

Gun court calendar
Due to the significatn growth in the use of firearms for violence, a separate calendar, known as the Gun Court Calendar, is established within the jurisdiction of the superior court for the counties of Providence and Bristol for hearing trial and disposition of actions brought pursuant to § 11-47-3, 11-47-5, 11-47-5.1,11-47-8, 11-47-24, 12-13-1.2, and 12-19-21. (Rhode Island General Laws § 8-2-15.1

Powers of supreme court justice in vacation
Any justice of the supreme court may exercise in the vacation of the superior court all the powers which may be exercised during such time by a justice of the superior court.  (Rhode Island General Laws § 8-2-25)

Filing and publication of rules
All rules shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state and shall become effective upon the date of filing, unless specified.  The secretry of state shall include all rules adopted since the last prior pulication thereof. (Rhode Island General Laws § 8-6-3)

Supreme court sessions
The Supreme court shall convene at Providence on the first Monday in October of each year and adjourn on the second Monday in July in the succeeding year, with a recess from the third Monday in February to the first Monday in March.  The court may hold sessions at other places as it deems possible. (Rhode Island General Laws § 8-7-1)


Inside Rhode Island State Courts