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About District Courts

About district courts

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.

Judicial districts

There are 31 judicial districts in Kansas, each with a varying number of judges. There is a district court in each county, and each court has a clerk of the court where cases are filed.

Judicial departments

Judicial districts are grouped into six judicial departments. Each department is assigned to a Supreme Court justice, and the departmental justice may assign judges from one judicial district to another.

Judicial departments

District judges

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

Chief judges

The Kansas Supreme Court appoints one judge in each district to serve as chief judge. A chief judge has, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, general control over case assignments within the district and general supervisory authority over the clerical and administrative functions of the court.


Appeals may be taken from a district court to the Court of Appeals and, in some cases, to the Supreme Court.

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