Maryland Case Law

The Maryland state court system is divided into three levels. The highest court in Maryland is the Maryland Supreme Court, which consists of seven judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by the Maryland Appellate Court. It also reviews appeals of decisions by trial courts in limited situations. Decisions by the Maryland Supreme Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.

The middle level of the Maryland state court system is the Maryland Appellate Court, which consists of 15 judges. The Appellate Court usually reviews cases in three-judge panels, although sometimes the entire Court will hear a case upon a majority vote of the sitting judges. Most appeals from trial courts must pass through the Appellate Court before reaching the Supreme Court.

The lowest level of the Maryland state court system consists of the Maryland Circuit Courts, the Maryland District Courts, and the Maryland Orphans' Courts. The Circuit Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. These courts also review appeals of decisions by District Courts, Orphans' Courts, and administrative agencies. The jurisdiction of the District Courts is limited to certain types of cases. These include misdemeanors, some felonies, traffic offenses, landlord-tenant disputes, and civil matters with less than $5,000 at issue. The Orphans' Courts review cases related to probate, estates, and guardianships. Decisions by Orphans' Courts may be appealed to a Circuit Court or to the Appellate Court.

Prior to December 14, 2022, the Maryland Supreme Court was known as the Maryland Court of Appeals, and the Maryland Appellate Court was known as the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

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