Supreme Court of the Judicature     1691 - 1777


Highest court of common law possessing both original and appellate jurisdiction;

Combined jurisdiction of 3 English courts:
King's Bench
Court of Common Pleas
Court of Exchequer

1693 - circuit courts held in each county at least once/year and New York City twice/year;

Held court of oyer & terminer (criminal) and court of general gaol and delivery in which grand juries returned indictments against suspects who were then tried here or in the supreme court;

Appeals over 100 (300 in 1753) went to Royal Governor and Council
(Court for the Correction of Error);

Jurisdiction overlapped with county courts;

Judgements and civil actions signed and filed in New York City



Supreme Court of the Judicature     1777 - 1821


Jurisdiction over points of law raised in proceedings in the circuit court and reviewed cases from county level civil and criminal courts and justice courts;

Court of Trial and Impeachment of Errors replaced Governor and Council as Court of last resort;

Supreme Court Justices held circuit courts, courts of oyer and terminer 2 regular terms/year;

Civil over 100.00;

Court of general jurisdiction within 52 counties of the state - 4 circuits;

1785 - 4 regular terms/year - 2 in New York City 2 in Albany;

1801 - civil over $250 (New York City $500);

1820 - one term of New York City moved to Utica



Supreme Court of the Judicature     1821 - 1847


Appeals from circuits;

All verdicts in circuit returned to Supreme Court for final judgement, signing, docketing and filing;

8 circuits created;

1841 - one term of Albany moved to Rochester;

Most justices served both as Supreme Court Circuit Justices and Courts of Equity Justices and Vice Chancellors



Supreme Court - General Term     1847 - 1869


Statewide court of unlimited jurisdiction in law and equity;

Appeals from judgements in the trial courts - civil, criminal, equity, from orders and decisions of other supreme court justices, and from the County Courts, Mayor's Court, Recorder's Courts;

Appeals to the Court of Appeals;

One single court with 8 circuits was created instead of 8 independent courts (circuits)



Supreme Court - General Term     1869 - 1895


Jurisdiction remains the same as in previous years;

Court restructured into 4 judicial departments each having a General Term in each of the 8 judicial districts



Supreme Court     1896 - present
Appellate Division
Civil Term
Criminal Term


Statewide trial court of general unlimited jurisdiction in law and equity and limited appellate jurisdiction;

Civil cases in every county and New York City;

Criminal - felony cases;

Appellate - civil, criminal, administrative adjudication decisions by state agencies;

Created to ease workload of Court of Appeals by having court of intermediate jurisdiction;

Circuit courts & court of oyer and terminer abolished;

Presently 12 districts - county clerks are the clerks of the Supreme Court in their respective counties;

Superior Courts of Buffalo, New York and Rochester were absorbed by the Supreme Court




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