Whose Jurisdiction is This?

  In Wisconsin we have about 252 municipal courts, 69 circuit courts, 4 branches of the court of appeals, and a supreme court.  It is no wonder that clients often times call and are confused about what court they are appearing before.  This article will give a brief overview of the different courts in Wisconsin and help you understand the function of each court.  Our office is also further able to help assist you with matters that you have in any of these courts.

Jurisdiction refers to which court has the authority to make a decision in a particular matter.  Beginning with municipal courts, they are the lowest level courts and have jurisdiction over numerous minor matters involving local laws.  The most common municipal court matters that many people are involved in are traffic tickets and parking tickets.  Municipal courts also handle building code violations, health code violations, and trespass matters.  Municipal courts impose fines for violations of local laws.  The courts are typically not open every day in smaller communities and often hold court in the evening.  

   More serious law violations and arguments between individuals or corporations are heard in the circuit courts.  Each Wisconsin county, but for six of them who share, has its own circuit court with one or more judges who preside over criminal cases, civil matters, family matters, small claims, and probate.  If you ...

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