California Superior Courts

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The California Superior Courts are the trial courts of the California court system. Each of California's 58 counties has a superior, or trial, court. Trials take place in the California Superior Court system in more than 450 courthouses. The superior courts hear civil and criminal cases, as well as family, probate, and juvenile cases.[1]


Justices of the California Superior Courts are elected in nonpartisan elections on a county-wide basis to six-year terms. Once elected, a justice can run for retention at the expiration of their term.

In the case of a mid-term vacancy, the Governor will appoint a new justice. To qualify as a superior court judge, a candidate must have been an attorney admitted to practice law in California, or have served as a judge of a court of record in the state for at least 10 years immediately preceding election or appointment.[2]

See also: Listing of California Superior Court judges on Judgepedia

Presiding judges

See also: Presiding Judge, California Superior Courts

Each of the 58 California Superior Courts that has two or more judges must have a Presiding Judge.

  • Presiding judges provide leadership and direction for many aspects of their court.
  • They are chosen by their peers.
  • They assign judges to cases.

Assigned judges

Some superior court judges may receive temporary assignments as-needed. These are called "Assigned Judges". According to the state court website:

"At the request of the presiding judges and justices of the trial and appellate courts, the Chief Justice—assisted by the Assigned Judges Program (AJP) of the Administrative Office of the Courts—issues temporary judicial assignment orders to active or retired judges and justices to cover vacancies, illnesses, disqualifications, and calendar congestion in the courts."[3]

List of courts

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Court closings in 2009

The overall California court system absorbed a 10 percent budget cut in 2009 totalling $414 million, which led to mandatory court closings throughout the 59-county Superior Court system of one day a month.[4][4]

External links


CaliforniaCalifornia Supreme CourtCalifornia Courts of AppealCalifornia Superior CourtsUnited States District Court for the Central District of CaliforniaUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of CaliforniaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of CaliforniaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of CaliforniaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitCalifornia countiesCalifornia judicial newsCalifornia judicial electionsJudicial selection in CaliforniaCaliforniaTemplatewithoutBankruptcy.jpg