New York City Courts

New York City Courts

New York City Courts

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The New York City court system consists of civil, criminal, and family courts. All have a presence in each borough and have city-wide jurisdiction. Instead, New York City courts have jurisdiction in the five counties that are coterminous with the five boroughs, but in practice most cases are handled in their own county/borough. Unlike the rest of New York State, New York City does not have typical County Courts.

Civil Court

The New York City Civil Court is the civil branch of the New York City courts system. The court handles all small claims cases (up to $5,000) and all civil cases within the five counties of New York City with a monetary value up to $25,000, as well as residential and commercial landlord-tenant disputes and certain cases transferred from the Supreme Court. Generally speaking the court does not have any equitable jurisdiction but can award money damages or possession of property only. There is a branch of the civil court in each of the five boroughs.

Judges of the Civil Court are elected to 10-year terms in either borough wide or district elections. The Civil Court districts are parts of the boroughs and do not cross borough lines. Party leaders frequently designate candidates for the Civil Court judgeships who then face an open primary against others who qualify for the ballot. The party machine usually manages to elect most of its judicial candidates. Vacancies on the Civil Court are filled by mayoral appointment.

Civil Court Judges can be designated to...
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