A Superior Court, sometimes called a High Court, is a type of court that maintains general jurisdiction. As a result, Superior Courts have the authority to hear cases regardless of their nature. This includes both civil and criminal actions, as well as appeals.
Prior to the establishment of Superior Courts, many states possessed a number of lesser courts. For example, a State may have traffic courts, municipal courts, and a number of other less extensive types of courts. These lesser courts have limited jurisdiction and are only able to preside over certain types of cases. Today, many states maintain these lesser courts and they are still in operation. However, Superior Courts have also been established and these courts have unlimited jurisdiction.
A Superior Court can be known by many different names. The title will vary depending upon the State in which the court is located. Some popular titles for superior courts include district courts, circuit courts, courts of common pleas, and supreme courts. The jurisdiction of a Superior Court will also differ based upon its location. For example, the superior courts located within Pennsylvania are primarily concerned with appeals, and therefore, function as an appellate court.
Superior Courts are also popular in Canada, though they function in a slightly different manner than Superior Courts in the United States. A state can possess multiple superior courts. These courts often operate on a state level. However, there are also County Superior Courts located in states throughout the country.