New York City Civil Court
The Civil Court of the City of New York is a civil court of the New York State Unified Court System in New York City that decides lawsuits involving claims for damages up to $25,000 and includes a small claims part (small claims court) for cases involving amounts up to $5,000 as well as a housing part (housing court) for landlord-tenant matters, and also handles other civil matters referred by the New York Supreme Court. It handles about 25% of all the New York state and local courts' total filings. The court has divisions by county (borough), but it is a single citywide court.
|Formed||September 1, 1962|
|Jurisdiction||New York City|
|Parent department||New York State Unified Court System|
Landlords in New York City may use a blacklist of persons who have appeared in housing court as a plaintiff or defendant. Known among housing advocates and lawyers as the tenant blacklist, it is compiled by tenant-screening database companies from housing court records.
The Civil Court has monetary jurisdiction up to $25,000, including replevin when the value of the chattel does not exceed that amount, real property actions such as partitions, and foreclosures within the monetary limit, and also has equity jurisdiction limited to real property actions, ejectment actions, and actions to rescind or reform a contract not involving more than the $25,000 jurisdictional limit.
- Housing part (housing court), for actions and proceedings involving the enforcement of state and local laws for the establishment and maintenance of housing standards, including but not limited to the Multiple Dwelling Law and the housing maintenance code, building code and health code of the New York City Administrative Code.
- Small claims parts (small claims court), for the hearing and disposition of all small claims proceedings.
- Calendar part, for the maintaining and calling of a calendar of cases, and for the hearing and disposition of all motions and applications, including orders to show cause and applications for adjournments, in civil actions that have been placed on a reserve or ready calendar but not yet assigned to a trial part.
- Trial part, for the trial of civil actions and for the hearing and determination of all motions and applications, including orders to show cause, made after an action is assigned to a trial part.
- Motion part, for the hearing and determination of motions and applications that are not otherwise required to be made in a calendar part, trial part or conference part.
- Conference part, for the precalendar or pretrial conference of actions.
- Multipurpose part, for the performance of the functions of a calendar part, a trial part, a motion part, a conference part, as well as other special parts of court.
New York City Civil Court judges are elected countywide or from districts to 10-year terms, with vacancies filled by the mayor and with their service continuing until the last day of December after next election. The Legislature has consistently opted to fill judgeships using the preexisting mixed pattern of countywide and Municipal Court districts— (1) those whose seats were formerly held by City Court justices, elected on a countywide basis; (2) those whose seats were formerly held by Municipal Court justices, elected from districts located within counties; and (3) those whose seats were created by successive acts of the Legislature, elected on a countywide basis.
A candidate needs to file petitions to be considered a candidate for a political party's nomination in the general election; petitions containing 4,000 signatures are needed for a county-wide seat, and petitions containing 1,500 signatures are necessary for a district seat. Party leaders frequently designate candidates for the Civil Court judgeships, who then face an open primary against others who qualify for the ballot. The party machine usually manages to elect most of its judicial candidates.
Housing Part judges are appointed by the Chief Administrative Judge to five-year terms. Civil Court or Family Court Judges may be assigned by the New York Chief Judge to the Supreme Court and are referred to as "Acting Supreme Court Judges". The Chief Judge of New York, in consultation with the Chief Administrative Judge, Administrative Judges, Supervising Judges and the Presiding Justice of the relevant Appellate Division, assigns judges to sit in the county in which they were selected or another county, for example a judge elected to New York City Civil Court in Manhattan could be assigned to Family Court in the Bronx, although an acting Supreme Court judge is usually assigned to the county in which they were elected.
With the consent of the parties, a volunteer arbitrator hears and decides disputes in small claims parts. Over 2800 arbitrators preside over 95% of the cases heard in small claims parts. They are appointed by the administrative judge of the court.
In 1759, so-called justices' courts held by the mayor, recorder or an alderman could try cases in controversy of not more than £5. In 1781, they were replaced by assistant justices' courts held by associate justices appointed by the governor. In 1787, these were replaced by assistant justices with the power of justices of the peace in other counties. In 1797, these were replaced with justices of the peace for the city and county of New York and were constituted as one court.
In 1807-1808 these were replaced by justices' courts and assistants justices' courts. In 1819, the justices' courts were replaced by the marine court of the city of New York, and in 1883 was renamed as the City Court of the City of New York. In 1852, the assistant justices' courts were renamed as the District Courts in the City of New York, and by the city charter in 1897 the district courts of New York City and justices' courts of Brooklyn and Long Island City were consolidated into the Municipal Court of the City of New York. In 1962, the City Court of the City of New York and the Municipal Court of the City of New York were consolidated and replaced by the current Civil Court.
- The New York State Courts: An Introductory Guide (PDF). New York State Office of Court Administration. 2000. p. 4. OCLC 68710274.
- The New York State Courts: An Introductory Guide (PDF). New York State Office of Court Administration. 2010. p. 2. OCLC 668081412.
- "Civil Court History". New York State Office of Court Administration. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
- Civil Court Act § 102
- Barr, Michael H. New York Civil Practice Before Trial. §6:180: James Publishing. ISBN 1-58012-062-8.
- 22 NYCRR § 208.2
- Kim Barker and Jessica Silver-Greenberg (August 16, 2016). "On Tenant Blacklist, Errors and Renters With Little Recourse". The New York Times. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- "In General". New York State Office of Court Administration. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
- 22 NYCRR § 208.3
- Civil Court Act § 110
- Civil Court Act § 102-a
- Catapano v Goldstein, 64 A.D.2d 88 (1978)
- New York City Bar Association Special Committee to Encourage Judicial Service (2012). How To Become a Judge (PDF). New York City Bar Association. pp. 6–8.
- "Judges". New York State Office of Court Administration. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
- New York City Bar Association Council on Judicial Administration (March 2014). Judicial Selection Methods in the State of New York: A Guide to Understanding and Getting Involved in the Selection Process (PDF). New York City Bar Association. pp. 9–13.
- "Small Claims Court Arbitrator Volunteers". New York State Office of Court Administration. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
- 22 NYCRR 208.41(n)(1)
- Langbein, George F.; Langbein, J.C. Julius (1872). The District Courts in the City of New York: Their Organization, Jurisdiction and Practice. Diossy & Company. pp. 4-.
- Laws of 1883, ch. 26
- Laws of 1897, ch. 378, §§ 1350-1351