About District Courts

Jurisdiction
District Courts are created by the Constitution. They are the trial courts of Kansas, with general original jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, including divorce and domestic relations, damage suits, probate and administration of estates, guardianships, conservatorships, care of the mentally ill, juvenile matters, and small claims. It is here that the criminal and civil jury trials are held. Kansas is divided into judicial districts, with a varying number of judges in each district. There is a district court in each county and an office of the clerk of the court where cases may be filed.

Judicial Departments
The state is also divided into six judicial departments, each of which includes several judicial districts. One justice of the State Supreme Court serves as departmental justice over each department. The departmental justice may assign judges from one judicial district to another.

Judges
Judges of the district court must be lawyers. Some counties have magistrate judges, who may or may not be lawyers, and whose jurisdiction is limited. There is at least one resident judge in each county.

The State Supreme Court appoints a district judge as administrative judge for each judicial district. The administrative judge, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over the assignment of cases within the district and general supervisory authority over the clerical and administrative functions of the court.

Appeals
Appeals may be taken from the district courts to the Court of Appeals, or to the Supreme Court.

The general public is welcome to visit a district court at any time.