Michigan Case Law
The Michigan state court system is divided into three levels. The highest court in Michigan is the Michigan Supreme Court, which consists of seven judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by the Michigan Court of Appeals. It also reviews cases involving judicial misconduct and cases in certain limited areas over which it has original jurisdiction. Decisions by the Michigan Supreme Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.
The middle level of the Michigan state court system is the Michigan Court of Appeals. Although it is divided into four districts, it must issue decisions that are consistent across these districts. Virtually all decisions by Michigan trial courts must pass through the Court of Appeals before reaching the Supreme Court.
The lowest level of the Michigan state court system consists primarily of the Michigan Circuit Courts, the Michigan District Courts, the Michigan Probate Courts, and the Michigan Municipal 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, Probate Courts, and Municipal Courts. The jurisdiction of the District Courts is limited to certain types of cases. These include misdemeanors, violations of local ordinances, landlord-tenant disputes, and civil matters with an amount less than $25,000 at issue. The Probate Courts review matters related to the administration of estates. The four Municipal Courts review cases that involve violations of local laws.
Michigan also has a separate court that reviews cases brought against the State of Michigan. This court is known as the Michigan Court of Claims. It often reviews cases related to taxes, government contracts, constitutional rights, and injuries caused by government employees. Appeals from the Court of Claims go directly to the Court of Appeals, rather than a Circuit Court.