District Court - Most people
experience the court system through the District Court. Cases heard
here include motor vehicle (traffic) and boating violations and
other misdemeanors and specified felonies, domestic violence and
peace order petitions, landlord-tenant disputes, small claims and
other civil cases involving limited dollar amounts, and replevin
(recovery of wrongfully taken or detained goods). Each county and
the City of Baltimore has at least one District Court location.
A case in the District Court is argued before a judge only: there
are no jury trials in District Court.
More on the District Court>>>
Circuit Court –
Generally handles more serious criminal cases, major civil cases,
including juvenile and other family law cases such as divorce, custody
and child support and most cases appealed from the District Court,
orphans’ courts and certain administrative agencies. Circuit
courts also hear domestic violence cases. Each County and the City
of Baltimore has a circuit court. Cases may involve juries or sometimes
are heard by a judge only.
More on the Circuit Courts>>>
Appellate Courts – Maryland has two appellate courts: the Court of Appeals,
the highest court, and the Court of Special Appeals, the intermediate
appellate court. These courts review a trial court’s (District
or Circuit Court) actions and decisions in given cases and decide
whether the trial judge properly followed the law and legal precedent.
More on the Court of Appeals>>>
More on the Court of Special
Court – This specialized court handles wills,
estates, and other probate matters and limited aspects of guardianship.
More on the Orphans’ Court>>>
NOTE: For a more detailed description of Maryland courts, see Maryland's Judicial System.
Attorney Grievance Commission oversees the conduct of both
Maryland lawyers and nonmembers of the Maryland Bar who engage in
the practice of law in the State.
More on the Attorney Grievance
Board of Law Examiners administers bar examinations
to persons seeking to be admitted to the practice of law.
More on the Board of Law Examiners>>>
Client Protection Fund maintains the integrity and
protects the good name of the legal profession. The Fund, supported
financially by practicing attorneys, reimburses claimants for losses
caused by theft of funds by members of the Maryland Bar, acting either
as attorneys or as fiduciaries.
More on the Client Protection Fund>>>
The Office of Communications and Public Affairs is responsible for planning, designing,
and executing programs to inform and educate the public about the
services, programs, and activities of the Judiciary. The Office
focuses on developing programs and activities to increase the public’s
awareness of the court’s role in the community.
More on the Office of Communications and Public Affairs>>>
Commission on Judicial Disabilities serves the
public in a variety of ways. Its primary function is to receive,
investigate and hear complaints against members of the Maryland
judiciary. It also supplies judicial nominating commissions with
confidential information concerning reprimands to or pending charges
against those judges seeking nomination to other judicial offices.
More on the Commission
on Judicial Disabilities>>>
Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO) serves
as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) resource for the state.
MACRO advances mediation and other ADR programs to meet local needs
and to provide more options for people in conflict.
More on MACRO>>>
Rules Committee meets
regularly to consider proposed amendments and additions to the Maryland
Rules of Procedure and submits recommendations for change to the
Court of Appeals.
More on the Rules Committee>>>
State Law Library provides access for the law-related information
needs of the judiciary as well as the legal community, government
agencies, and the public.
More on the Law
The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) provides administrative
services for the Maryland Judiciary. These services include personnel
administration, preparation and administration of the Judiciary's
budget, planning and research, and information systems. The AOC also
provides staff support to the Maryland Judicial Conference and other
Judiciary commissions and programs.
More on the AOC>>>