||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
|This article is part of the series: Courts of England and Wales|
|Law of England and Wales|
A County Court is a court based in or with a jurisdiction covering one or more counties, which are administrative divisions (subnational entities) within a country, not to be confused with the medieval system of county courts held by the High Sheriff of each county.
England and Wales 
County Court matters can be lodged at a court in person, by post or via the internet in some cases through the County Court Bulk Centre. Cases are normally heard at the court having jurisdiction over the area where the defendant lives. Most matters are decided by a District Judge or Circuit Judge sitting alone. Civil matters in England (with minor exceptions, e.g. in some actions against the police) do not have juries. Judges in the County Courts are either former barristers or solicitors, whereas in the High Courts they are more likely to have formerly been a barrister.
Civil claims with an amount in controversy under £5,000 are dealt with in the County Court under the Small Claims Track (sometimes known to the lay public as "Small Claims Court," although it is not a separate court). Claims between £5,000 and £25,000 (£15,000 for cases started before April 2009) that are capable of being tried within one day are allocated to the "Fast Track" and claims over £25,000 (£15,000 for cases started before April 2009) to the "Multi Track." These 'tracks' are labels for the use of the court system - the actual cases will be heard in the County Court or the High Court depending on their value. For personal injury, defamation, and some landlord-tenant dispute cases the thresholds for each track have different values.
In debt cases, the aim of a plaintiff taking County Court action against a Defendant is to secure a County Court Judgment. This is a legal order to pay the full amount of the debt. Judgments can be enforced at the request of the plaintiff in a number of ways, including requesting the Court Bailiffs to seize goods, the proceeds of any sale being used to pay the debt, or an Attachment of Earnings Order, where the defendant's employer is ordered to make deductions from the gross wages to pay the plaintiff.
County Court Judgments are recorded in the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines and in the defendant's credit records held by credit reference agencies. This information is used in consumer credit scores, making it difficult or more expensive for the defendant to obtain credit. In order to avoid the record being kept for years in the Register, the debt must be settled within 30 days after the date the County Court Judgement was served (unless the judgement was later set aside). If the debt was not fully paid within the statutory period, the entry will remain for six full years. 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2009)|
County Court is the name given to the intermediate court in some Australian states. For example, the County Court of Victoria). They hear indictable (serious) criminal offences excluding treason, murder and manslaughter. Their civil jurisdiction is also intermediate, typically being for civil disputes where the amount claimed is greater than a few tens of thousands of dollars but less than a few hundreds of thousands of dollars. The limits vary between States. In some States the same level of Court is called a District Court. Below them are the Magistrates' (or Local) Courts. Above them are the State Supreme Courts. Some States adopt the two-tier appellate system, with the magistrates courts below and the Supreme Courts above.
United States 
||It has been suggested that this article be merged into County commission. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2013.|
In those states with an administrative county court, the body acts as the executive agency for the local government. For example, Harry S Truman was county judge of Jackson County, Missouri in the 1930s, an executive position rather than a judicial post.
In the states that have a judicial county court, such as New York, it generally handles trials for felonies, as well as appeals of misdemeanors from local courts and some small claims cases. It is a court of original jurisdiction, and thus handles mostly trials of accused felons. The New York County Court "is established in each county outside New York City. It is authorized to handle the prosecution of all crimes committed within the County. The County Court also has limited jurisdiction in civil cases ...." More specifically, the New York County Court is:
authorized to handle the prosecution of all crimes committed within the county. It has exclusive authority to handle trials in felony matters and shares authority with the local city, town and village courts to handle trials in misdemeanor cases (offenses punishable by less than one year in prison) and other minor offenses and violations. The County Court also has limited authority to hear civil cases involving monetary awards of $25,000 or less. Although the County Court is primarily a trial court, in the Third and Fourth Departments it also has appellate jurisdiction over cases originating in City, Town and Village Courts.—New York State Court System (emphasis and internal links added)
Otherwise in the United States, the courts of original jurisdiction in most states have jurisdiction over a particular county, parish, shire, or borough; but instead of being called "county court" they are called "superior court" or "circuit court". Multiple courts of typically limited original jurisdiction within a county are usually called "district courts" or, if located in and serving a particular municipality, "municipal courts"; and are subordinate to the county superior or circuit court. In New York, 'superior'/'circuit' courts are called "supreme court".
Prior to 1924, the County Court was the main civil court in Ireland, having jurisdiction over most civil matters, except for the larger actions which were heard by the High Court of Justice in Ireland or the Assizes. Its jurisidction was similar to that of the County Court in England and Wales. However, it differed from that court in its procedures. Claims were initiated by way of civil bill. Most matters were tried by a County Court Judge, and where necessary, a jury. The main administrative officer of the County Court in earch county was the Clerk of the Crown and Peace.
The Courts of Justice Act 1924 abolished the County Court in the Irish Free State and transferred its jurisdiction (together with that of Quarter Sessions) to the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court is still based on the organisational structure established for the County Court and the main administrative officer of each Circuit Court is now called the County Registrar.
The County Court continues to exist in Northern Ireland. Civil bills are still used as the initiation document for Circuit Court/County Court claims in both Irish jurisdictions, unlike in England and Wales.
- EX320 Registered judgments - What does it mean Access date 2010-09-25.
- New York State Court System official website Upstate courts web page. Accessed May 26, 2009.
- New York State Court System official website 3d Judicial District County Courts web page. Accessed May 26, 2009.
- New York State Court System official website New York City Criminal Courts web pages. Accessed May 26, 2009.