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Courts Where Tennessee Court Cases Were Tried

 

TIME PERIOD
TYPE OF CASE
COURT

1796-1809

Any minor matter

Court of Common Pleas & Quarter Sessions


Any larger matter; all appeals

Superior Courts of Law & Equity

 

TIME PERIOD
TYPE OF CASE
COURT

1809-1834

Any minor matter

Court of Pleas


Larger law cases

Circuit Court


Larger equity cases

Supreme Court (see 1822-1834 also)


Appeals of law cases

Supreme Court

 

TIME PERIOD
TYPE OF CASE
COURT

1822-1834

Larger Equity Cases

Chancery Division of Supreme Court

 

TIME PERIOD
TYPE OF CASE
COURT

1834-present

Business matters only (not disputes)

County Court


Any law case

Circuit Court (which divided into Civil & Criminal courts in some places after 1847. Criminal heard "State" cases and Civil heard cases between individuals.)


Any equity case

Chancery Court


Appeals of all cases

Supreme Court

 

Types of Cases Heard in the Courts after 1834

County Court: Appointment of administrators and guardians; reports of same; wills proved; widow's provisions laid off; road crews appointed; apprentices bound; wildcat/wolf bounties paid; paupers and "idiots" provided for; taxes adjusted.

Circuit Court: (Heard cases of LAW -- where laws had been broken and guilt or innocence was to be decided.) Civil Cases include debt, divorce, assault. State/Criminal Cases include theft, gambling, fighting, murder, bastardy.

Chancery Court: (Heard cases of EQUITY -- disputes in which court had to decide what would be fair to all parties.) Estate disputes; land and slave ownership disputes; business partnership dissolutions; division of property in divorces; incompetency rebuttals; claims against public officials.

 

Updated November 20, 2007

 

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