Montana Case Law
The Montana state court system is divided into two levels. The only appellate court in Montana is the Montana Supreme Court, which consists of seven judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by lower courts. Decisions by the Montana Supreme Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.
The lower level of the Montana state court system consists primarily of the Montana District Courts, the Montana Justice Courts, the Montana City Courts, and the Montana Municipal Courts. The District Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. These courts also review appeals of decisions by Justice Courts, City Courts, and Municipal Courts. The jurisdiction of these three sets of courts is limited to certain types of cases. These include misdemeanors, violations of local ordinances, landlord-tenant disputes, and civil matters with less than $7,000 at issue.
Montana also has two courts that review distinctive types of cases. First, the Montana Water Court reviews cases related to water rights. Second, the Montana Workers' Compensation Court reviews workers' compensation disputes. Appeals from these courts go directly to the Supreme Court rather than a District Court.