How do I figure out which court to go to?
The Judicial Branch includes the Supreme Court, the Superior Court, and the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court has three divisions: the District Division, the Probate Division and the Family Division. Cases are handled as follows:
The Supreme Court handles civil, criminal and juvenile appeals and matters involving administrative agencies. It also handles some original petitions, such as a writ of habeas corpus filed by an inmate seeking release from prison.
The Superior Court has jurisdiction over a wide variety of cases, including criminal, and civil cases, and provides the only forum in this state for trial by jury.
The Circuit Court Probate Division has jurisdiction over trusts, wills and estates, adoptions, termination of parental rights, guardianships, equity matters, name changes and involuntary commitments.
The Circuit Court District Division has jurisdiction over misdemeanor and violation level criminal offenses, small claims below $10,000, landlord/tenant matters, stalking cases and civil cases which do not exceed $25,000. In addition, a party may go to a District Division to obtain an emergency order of protection in a domestic violence matter. Some District Divisions also handle juvenile matters and hearings in domestic violence matters; however in counties where the Family Division has been instituted that court would not address those issues. Lastly the District Divisions handle appeals of gun permit denials, land use violations and replevin. In some matters the jurisdiction of the District Division is concurrent with the Superior Court, meaning that a party could go to either.
The Circuit Court Family Division jurisdiction includes divorce, parenting disputes, child support, domestic violence, guardianships, termination of parental rights, abuse and neglect cases, children in need of supervision, delinquencies, and some adoptions.
This website includes a list of all courts by town. Click here to find the List of Courts in New Hampshire by City or Town A-Z.
Do I have to pay a fee to file a lawsuit in court?
Yes, but a party can file a motion to have the court waive the fee because of exceptional circumstances.
Filing fees vary depending on the type of case being filed:
What hours are the courts open?
The Supreme Court is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Superior and Circuit Court hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- To locate the court nearest you click on Find a Court. It is a good idea to check the judicial branch website where, in the event of emergency, notice of any court closures will be posted.
How do I get a copy of documents in a case file?
Requests for court records must be in writing and may involve the payment of a fee. For the amount of the fee go here. Court files are a matter of public record and are available for inspection at the Clerk’s office. The court will charge for copies.
Can I represent myself in court?
Persons who pursue a legal matter on their own in court, without a lawyer representing them, are often referred to as "self represented" or "pro se" litigants. Contact the clerk's office in the court nearest you to find out if information or forms are available for people who decide to represent themselves.
Self represented litigants may want to review the information found at the NH Judicial Branch Self-Help Center
Where can I find court rules?
Each division of court has a set of rules that govern its procedure. Click Court Rules to view in full.
What do the letters in the court case numbers stand for?
An outline of the letters and their meaning can be found on our Court Case Types Abbreviations List.