Louisiana Case Law
The Louisiana state court system is divided into three levels. The highest court in Louisiana is the Louisiana Supreme Court, which consists of seven judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by the Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal. It also reviews appeals of decisions by trial courts in limited situations. Decisions by the Louisiana Supreme Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.
The middle level of the Louisiana state court system consists of the Louisiana Circuit Courts of Appeal. Judges in each of the five circuits review cases in panels that contain at least three judges. Decisions by the Circuit Courts of Appeal are final unless the Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.
The lowest level of the Louisiana state court system consists primarily of the Louisiana District Courts, the Louisiana Justice of the Peace Courts, the Louisiana Mayor's Courts, and the Louisiana City and Parish Courts. The District Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. These courts also review appeals of decisions by Justice of the Peace Courts, Mayor's Courts, and City and Parish Courts. The jurisdiction of the Justice of the Peace Courts is limited to certain types of cases. These include minor criminal cases, traffic violations, and civil matters with no more than $5,000 at issue.
The Mayor's Courts allow mayors to review cases that involve violations of local ordinances. The City Courts also review these cases, in addition to civil cases with an amount between $5,000 and $20,000 at issue. The three Parish Courts review cases involving minor criminal offenses and civil matters with no more than $10,000 at issue. City and Parish Courts also sometimes review appeals of decisions by Justice of the Peace Courts.
Louisiana also has one Family Court and four Juvenile Courts, which serve certain areas of the state. The Family Court reviews cases related to domestic relations, such as divorce and child custody. The Juvenile Courts review cases that involve people under the age of 17, including delinquency and adoptions. Their jurisdiction overlaps with the jurisdiction of the Family Court in some matters.