Maine Case Law

The Maine state court system is divided into two levels. The only appellate court in Maine is the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which consists of seven judges. The Supreme Judicial Court reviews appeals of decisions by trial courts in the state. It also issues advisory opinions that are requested by the executive branch or the legislative branch of the state government. Decisions by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.

The lower level of the Maine state court system consists of the Maine Superior Courts, the Maine District Courts, and the Maine Probate Courts. The Superior Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. These courts also review appeals of decisions by state and local administrative agencies. Jury trials are available only in the Superior Courts. The District Courts also review civil and criminal cases, but these are decided by judges. A family division in the District Court system holds jurisdiction over family law matters, such as divorce and child custody. The Probate Courts review matters related to wills, trusts, guardianships, adoptions, and name changes. Appeals from all of these courts go directly to the Supreme Judicial Court.

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