Hawaii Case Law

The Hawaii state court system is divided into three levels. The highest court in Hawaii is the Hawaii Supreme Court, which consists of five judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by lower courts in Hawaii. It also may review reserved or certified questions from lower courts and federal courts. Decisions by the Hawaii Supreme Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.

The middle level of the Hawaii state court system is the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals. It consists of six judges, who review cases in three-judge panels. The Intermediate Court of Appeals reviews appeals of decisions by the lower courts in Hawaii, and it also may review decisions by some state administrative agencies.

The lowest level of the Hawaii state court system consists of the Hawaii Circuit Courts, the Hawaii District Courts, and the Hawaii Family Courts. The Circuit Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. The jurisdiction of the District Courts is limited to certain types of cases. These include misdemeanors, traffic offenses, violations of local ordinances, and civil matters with no more than $25,000 at issue. The Family Courts review cases related to domestic relations, such as divorce, child custody, child support, adoptions, guardianships, juvenile delinquency, domestic violence, and restraining orders. A decision by any of the lower courts may be appealed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

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