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Circuit Court

geographical jurisdiction territory

A specific tribunal that possesses the legal authority to hear cases within its own geographical territory.

A circuit court is ordinarily an inferior trial-level court; appeals are heard by superior courts possessing the requisite jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a circuit court generally extends over a number of counties or districts wherein the court sits.

The name circuit court can be traced historically to the period when a single judge rode the circuit to hold trials in each county within the designated territory. In geographical locations with small populations, this method of dispensing justice eliminates the expense of providing every small village with its own judiciary.

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