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Vermont State Courts

Courts – State Courts – Vermont

Highest Court

The highest court in Vermont is the Supreme Court of Vermont.  The Supreme Court consists of 5 justices. It has jurisdiction over (1) Mandatory jurisdiction in civil, criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, original proceeding, and interlocutory decision cases. (2) Discretionary jurisdiction in interlocutory decision cases and small claims.

General Courts

Superior Courts
The Superior Court consist of 15 judges.  It has jurisdiction over (1) Exclusive tort, contract, real property rights ($0/no maximum), miscellaneous civil, and civil appeals jurisdiction. (2) Exclusive small claims jurisdiction ($3,500).
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Family Court
The Family Court has judges assigned from the 15 superior and 18 district judges, and 6 child magistrates. It has jurisdiction over (1) Paternity, interstate support, marriage dissolution, support/ custody, domestic violence, miscellaneous domestic relations, and mental health. (2) Exclusive juvenile.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

District Courts
The District Courts consists of 17 judges.  It has jurisdiction over (1) Felony, exclusive misdemeanor, and DWI/DUI jurisdiction. (2) Moving traffic, miscellaneous traffic, and ordinance violation jurisdiction.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Limited Courts

Environmental Court
The Environmental Court consists of 1 judge. It has jurisdiction over (1) Administrative agency appeals. (2) Municipal zoning and planning. (3) Commission appeals.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Probate Court
The Probate Court consists of 18 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Mental health, miscellaneous domestic relations, miscellaneous civil, exclusive adoption, and estate jurisdiction.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Vermont Judicial Bureau Hearing Officers
The Vermont Judicial Bureau Hearing Officers is 4 hearing officers. It has jurisdiction over (1) Moving traffic, ordinance violation, miscellaneous traffic, and fish and wildlife.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Additional Information

Time limit for hearing on merits
Whenever the presiding judge or the judges of a superior court have begun the hearing of a cause on its merits at a stated term or in vacation after a stated term, they may finish such hearing and render judgment within a time to be set by the supreme court. ( Vermont Statute  § 119)

The place of trial in the family court shall be in the county in which one of the parties resides, if one party resides within the state. If no party resides within the state, the place of trial may be in any county.
(Vermont Statute  Section 458)

The jury commission shall send a jury questionnaire prepared by the court administrator to each person selected to serve as a juror. The return questionnaires shall be retained in the county clerk’s office, except that those questionnaires submitted by prospective jurors for service in the district court of Vermont shall be deposited with the clerk of the district court concerned. The questionnaire shall at all times during business hours be open to inspection by the court and attorneys of record of the state of Vermont. (Vermont Statute § 955)

Environmental court
The environmental court has state wide jurisdiction and is a court of record under the authority supreme court. One environmental judge, shall be appointed within the judicial branch for a term of six year,  shall hear matters arising under chapters 23 and 201 of Title 10 and matters arising under 24 V.S.A. chapter 117 and chapter 61, subchapter 12 in environmental court. The environmental judge shall sit in  environmental court at least two-thirds of his or her time.(Vermont Statute 1001)

Appointment of hearing officers
The administrative judge shall appoint members of the Vermont bar to serve as hearing officers to hear cases. Hearing officers shall be subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct. At least one hearing officer shall reside in each territorial unit of the district court. (Vermont Statute § 1104)

Powers of the district court
The district court is a court of record and has all the powers regarding civil actions and criminal prosecutions as a superior court. The district court shall have a seal with the name of the court and the word “Vermont” thereon. (Vermont Statute § 442)

Inside Vermont State Courts