South Carolina State Courts

Courts – State Courts – South Carolina

Highest Court

The highest court in South Carolina is the Supreme Court of  South Carolina.  The Supreme Court consists of 5 justices. It has jurisdiction over (1) Appeals from circuit and family court. (2) Death penalty. (3) Public utility rates. (4) Significant constitutional issues. (5) Public bond issues. (6) Elections. (7) Certiorari from Court of Appeals. (8) Appeals from Masters-in-Equity ( if consent as final judgment).

General Courts

Family courts
The Family Court consist of 60 judges.  It has jurisdiction over (1) Exclusive jurisdiction in domestic and juvenile.

Circuit Court
The Circuit Court consist of 51 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Common pleas (civil) General Sessions (criminal)
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Masters-in-Equity
The Circuit Court consist of 21 judges.  It has jurisdiction over (1) References from Circuit Court.

Limited Courts

Magistrate Court
The Magistrate Court consists 311 magistrates. It has jurisdiction over (1) Civil to $7,500.(2) Criminal to 30 days, $500, or both.

Municipal Courts
The family courts consists of 378 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Criminal up to 30 days, $500, or both.

Probate Courts
The Traffic courts consists of 46 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Administration of estates. (2) Mental Commitments.

Additional Information

Procedure when justice cannot preside in cause; special justices
In a situation that all or some of the Supreme Court Justices are disqualified or for some reason prohibited from presiding in any case, the Governor of South Carolina shall commission the needed people educated in the law for the trial. (S.C. Code Section 14-3-60)

Messenger and attendant.
The Supreme Court shall appoint and assign the duties to a court messenger and a court attendant for a term of four years.  (S.C. Code Section  14-3-110)

Power of individual justices at chambers; appeal
The justices of the Supreme Court have the same power at chambers as in open court concerning the administration of oaths, writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, certiorri,  prohibition, interlocutory writs, and orders of injunction. (S.C. Code Section  14-3-350)

Equity courts
The equity court is a division of the circuit court and is presided over by the master-in-equity.  The master-in-equity is entitled to all the benefits and subject to all the requirements of the South Carolina Bar and rules of the Supreme Court.  (S.C. Code Section 14-11-15)

General duties
The Master-in-Equity as the circumstances or courts shall allow regarding equitable relief.  The sales shall be at the county courthouse or at such other public places in the county designated in the notice of sale. (S.C. Code Section  14-11-80)

Clerk of court of common pleas to be clerk of all courts of record.
The clerk of the court of common pleas elected in each county pursuant to Section 14-17-10 is ex officio clerk of the court of general sessions, the family court, and all other courts of record in the county except as may be provided by the law establishing the other courts.  (S.C. Code Section 14-17-20.


Inside South Carolina State Courts