The vast majority of civil lawsuits in the United States are filed in state courts. Two aspects of civil lawsuits are common to all state courts: trials and appeals. A court exercising a trial function has original jurisdiction—that is, jurisdiction to determine the facts of the case and apply the law to them. A court that hears appeals from the trial court is said to have appellate jurisdiction—it must accept the facts as determined by the trial court and limit its review to the lower court’s theory of the applicable law.
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State Court Systems