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The Superior Court is North Carolina's general jurisdiction trial court. It was established in 1777 and is North Carolina's oldest court.


Jurisdiction and administrationEdit

The Superior Court is the trial court of general jurisdiction in North Carolina.[1] It hears all felony cases and certain misdemeanor cases.[2] In civil matters, superior courts have original jurisdiction over civil disputes with an amount in controversy exceeding $25,000.[3] (This amount was formerly $10,000, but this jurisdictional amount was increased effective August 1, 2013).[4][5] The superior court also adjudicates appeals from administrative agencies,[6] and appeals of misdemeanor and infraction cases from the North Carolina District Courts.[3]

The Superior Courts are divided into 8 divisions and further into 50 districts.[3] There are 97 regular Superior Court judges under current state law,[7] in addition to "special judges" who are appointed by the Governor, not elected.[8]

Judges rotate from district to district within their division every six months in order to avoid the danger of corruption or favoritism.[3]


The Superior Court is the state's oldest court, having been established in 1777. The first three judges elected by the North Carolina General Assembly were Samuel Ashe of New Hanover County, Samuel Spencer of Anson County, and future U.S. Supreme Court Justice James Iredell of Chowan County. Until the creation of a separate North Carolina Supreme Court in 1818, Superior Court judges sitting together functioned as the state's only appellate court.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The New Politics of North Carolina, p. 179.
  2. ^ The New Politics of North Carolina, p. 179.
  3. ^ a b c d "Superior Court". North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  4. ^ Civil Jurisdiction Thresholds, National Center for State Courts.
  5. ^ Significant Changes to North Carolina Jurisdictional Amounts Effective August 1, 2013, Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo, LLP.
  6. ^ The New Politics of North Carolina, p. 179.
  7. ^ NC General Statutes, chapter 7A
  8. ^ McGee: So what’s special about a special superior court judge?
  9. ^ "History of the Superior Court Judges of North Carolina" (PDF). North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys. Retrieved 13 February 2012.


  • The New Politics of North Carolina (eds. Christopher A. Cooper & H. Gibbs Knotts).