Tennessee state court system

Understanding how the system of Tennessee state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.

Tennessee Courts Overview

To make your work easier, start searching for court records in Tennessee by simply going to courts by county.

The trial court system of Tennessee State consists of Municipal Courts, Probate Courts, Juvenile Courts, General Sessions Courts, Criminal Courts, Chancery Courts, and Circuit Courts.

Circuit Courts

Tennessee Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction to handle all cases. They handle any case that no other court has jurisdiction over.

Circuit Courts share jurisdiction over all types of criminal cases with Criminal Courts. Chancery Courts and Circuit Courts also share jurisdiction over adoption, divorce, name changes, distribution and partition of personal or real property, the appointment and release of trustees, arbitration, trustee petitions, and paternity.

They also share jurisdiction with some General Sessions Courts over domestic relations cases. They can also handle disputes about validity of cases connected to arbitration. These courts also have limited jurisdiction to handle cases citizenship restoration.

Chancery Courts

These courts have limited jurisdiction to handle many cases of an equitable nature. They generally hear cases that other courts have no jurisdiction over. Chancery Courts share jurisdiction with other courts over some types of civil cases.

Chancery Courts have limited jurisdiction over cases that involve disputes over land boundaries, some types of requests made by creditors, and the cases that the State has signed against corporations.

Criminal Courts

Private Acts in some Judicial Circuits have created Criminal Courts. Criminal Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts over criminal cases, but Circuit Courts will usually not exercise jurisdiction in districts where Criminal Courts are available.

General Sessions Courts

These courts have general jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases. Criminal cases generally handled by these courts include many violations of municipal ordinances, misdemeanor trials, and preliminary hearings in all types of criminal cases.

Civil cases generally heard by these courts include certain general civil cases without any financial limits, such as the recovery of personal property, and forcible entry and detainer. Jurisdiction of General Sessions Courts is limited for certain types of equity and general civil cases to claims with less than $25,000 in dispute, exclusive of costs and attorney fees.

They also issues restraining orders and handle the enforcement of restraining orders. They can also handle cases including nonsupport, mental health proceedings, juvenile matters, and probate matters.

A Mental Health Court division exists in some General Sessions Courts for handling cases that involve voluntary commitments and cases that have been filed under the Mental Health Law.

Juvenile Courts

Juvenile Courts have limited jurisdiction to handle many juvenile delinquency as well as other juvenile cases, such as child neglect and abuse, juvenile dependency, judicial consent to military or employment enlistment, and minors considered to be unruly.

Criminal cases generally heard by these courts include some violations of parental responsibilities by guardians or parents. General Sessions Court share jurisdiction with Juvenile Courts over the offense of contributing to unruly conduct or delinquency of a child.

A Juvenile Court may have a Teen Court division that handle juvenile delinquency cases, including some drug offenses, curfew violations, truancy, runaways, traffic offenses, harassment, disorderly conduct, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, forgery, vandalism, theft of property, burglary, and assault.

Probate Courts

Probate Courts have jurisdiction to handle conservatorships, guardianships, administration of estates, and probate of wills. Chancery Courts may have a Probate Court division.

Municipal Courts

Also sometimes known as Town Courts or City Courts, Municipal Courts usually handle some types of criminal cases and many municipal ordinance violations. Some Municipal Courts also have jurisdiction to handle certain municipal ordinances that reflect state criminal laws, including underage alcohol offenses, reckless driving, and driving without a driving license.

The Official Website of Tennessee County

Murfreesboro Murfreesboro, TN – Official Website
Clarksville Clarksville, TN | Official Website
Chattanooga Welcome to Chattanooga.gov Official site for the City of Chattanooga in Hamilton County, Tennessee
Tullahoma TullahomaTN – Welcome to Tennessee's Rising Star!
East Ridge East Ridge, TN
Shelbyville Shelbyville
Farragut Farragut, TN – Official Website
Bristol Bristol, TN – Official Website
Maryville City of Maryville, TN
Oak Ridge Welcome to the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee Official website of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Morristown Welcome to City of Morristown, Tennesee
Lebanon Lebanon, TN | Official Website
Mount Juliet Mount Juliet, TN | Official Website
Cookeville Cookeville, TN | Official Website
Gallatin Gallatin, TN | Official Website
Shelby County Shelby County, TN – Official Website
Davidson County Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee
Knox County Knox County Tennessee Government Knox County Govenment Website
Hamilton County Welcome to Hamilton County, TN Hamilton County, TN Government
Rutherford County Rutherford County TN
Williamson County Williamson County, TN – Official Site | Official Website
Montgomery County Montgomery County Government
Sumner County Sumner County Government
Sullivan County Sullivan County | Tennessee
Blount County Blount County, TN | Official Website
Washington County Washington County — The Birthplace of Tennessee | Washington County, TN
Wilson County Welcome – Wilson County TN Government, Official Website Wilson County Tennessee is located in the heart of Middle Tennessee and the county seat is Lebanon, Tennessee.
Bradley County Bradley County, TN
Madison County Madison County, TN – Official Website
Sevier County SEVIER COUNTY TENNESSEE – Sevier County, Tennessee
Maury County Maury County, TN | Official Website
Anderson County Anderson County
Putnam County Putnam County TN |
Greene County Greene County
Hamblen County Hamblen County Government
Tipton County Welcome to Tipton County, TN
Carter County Carter County, Tennessee
Hawkins County Hawkins County, TN
Cumberland County Cumberland County, TN – Golf, it's just the beginning… Don't forget to take the Cumberland County Broadband Survey! Cumberland County.  Here, the spirit of creativity drives everything, from innovations in manufacturing to artistic integrity. A boundless imagination builds strong businesses, creates thriving communities and applies new ideas to logistics. Now is the time to be in Cumberland County, Tennessee. Cumberland County, located in Tennessee's…
Roane County Roane County
Coffee County Coffee County, TN | Official Website
McMinn County McMinn County, TN
Jefferson County Jefferson County, Tennessee
Gibson County Greater Gibson County Chamber – Tennessee
Dickson County Dickson County, TN
Loudon County Welcome to the official website of Loudon County, Tennessee Government!
Bedford County Bedford County Welcome
Monroe County Monroe Government
Lawrence County Lawrence County, TN Government | lawrencecountytn.gov – Lawrence County, Tennessee Government Official county website contains latest county news, information on county elected officials, county government services, departments, events, and online data access.