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The Civil Court System

Legal Information
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Alternative Dispute Resolution

Lawline FAQ: ADR provides alternatives to lawsuits and trials. The three primary methods of ADR include negotiation, mediation and arbitration.

Circuit Riders Outreach Program

A database of resources and references for accessing legal information for all South Carolina.

Facts about the American Judicial System

This web site contains information on the federal and state judiciaries and how our court system works. The document is only available in PDF format.

Finding the Appropriate Magistrate

Lawline FAQ: Finding the appropriate magistrate will depend upon the nature of your problem or claim. The laws of South Carolina require that a small claim, or virtually every other claim of a civil nature, be filed in the county where the defendant lives.

Legal Aid Services in South Carolina

Lawline FAQ: Legal Services in non-criminal matters for people who cannot afford a private lawyer are provided by the South Carolina Centers for Equal Justice. Legal Services programs do not handle criminal law cases.

Magistrates Landlord/Tenant Court

Lawline FAQ: A magistrate may sit as a judge of a landlord-tenant court. This discussion will concentrate on rental agreements for a personal residence such as an apartment or single family home as opposed to rental of a business.

Magistrates Small Claims Court

Lawline FAQ: The magistrate court in many instances functions as a Small Claims Court. In order for this court to have jurisdiction, your claim cannot exceed $7,500.00, except in disputes between landlords and tenants. Employees of the magistrate court will help you file your claim in writing and will explain to you how your case will proceed through trial. You are not required to hire an attorney unless you so desire.

Pro Bono Resources

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the Bar's Pro Bono Program.

South Carolina Court Forms

A wide range of standard forms you can use if you need one to file with the court in South Carolina.

South Carolina Probate Courts by County

Interactive map. Click on your area to learn about your Probate Judges.

Supreme Court Office of Disciplinary Counsel FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions about misconduct by judges and attorneys.

Supreme Court Office of Disciplinary Counsel - How to File a Complaint

There are no forms or other special requirements to file a complaint, but some things are necessary for both judicial and lawyer complaints. Find out what they are here.

Unauthorized Practice of Law

Except where a person is representing his or her own cause, practicing law without a license is strictly prohibited by state law. The biggest problem in determining whether someone is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law is determining whether his or her conduct is actually the “practice of law.” It is up to the South Carolina Supreme Court to decide whether someone is engaged in the practice of law.

What is Judicial Independence?

1. Judicial independence means that judges can decide cases before them without fear or favor, based on the law and the facts of that particular case. It's a way to provide for fair and impartial courts. Judicial independence does not mean that judges are free to decide cases according to their own whims or prejudices. 2. It means judges have the authority to exercise their constitutional obligation to make hard decisions, unpopular decisions, without concern for retribution, personal or professional. This web site contains more information about why it is important it is to have an independent judiciary.

Civil Matters

Procedural information for US District Court cases.

Divisions

Color-coded map with explanations of which types of cases are heard in each division.

Explanation of Case Numbers

Decoding case numbers in the US District Court for the District of South Carolina.

Federal Rules Table of Contents

Federal Rules of Appellate, Civil, and Criminal Procedure, and Federal Rules of Evidence.

Filing Procedures

If you have ensured that the US District Court has jurisdiction in your case, or if you have a case already pending before the US District Court, following these filing procedures will help keep your case on track.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about how the United States District Court works.

Hours and Holiday Schedule

Is the US District Court open today? Find out here.

Inside the Federal Courts

What the federal courts do, how they are organized, how cases move through the federal courts, how the federal courts interact with other branches of government, and how the federal courts are run. An informative presentation by the Federal Judicial Center.

Legal Terms Glossary

Ordinary words take on extraordinary meanings inside the courthouse. Look them up alphabetically here.

Local Rules

Local procedural rules for civil and criminal cases, with an archive of old rules.

Public Access to Documents in Electronic Case Files

Documents filed in Civil and Criminal cases are available to the public on PACER electronically. Social Security documents are not available.

Referral of Cases

Some cases filed in the US District Court may be referred to a magistrate judge for certain proceedings. Learn more here.

Where to Find Case Information

If you need to find more specific information on a pending or old case, this page will tell you where to start.

Grand Juror Handbook

This Handbook will acquaint persons who have been selected to serve on a federal grand jury with the general nature and importance of their role as grand jurors. It explains some of the terms that grand jurors will encounter during their service and offers some suggestions helpful to them in performing this important public service. It is intended that this Handbook will, to a degree, repeat and provide a permanent record of much of the information presented in the grand jury orientation film, The People's Panel, which in most districts is shown to grand jurors at the commencement of their service. Grand jurors are encouraged to refer to this Handbook periodically throughout their service to reacquaint themselves with their duties and responsibilities. This Handbook is designed as an aid only to persons serving on a federal - not a state -grand jury.

Jurors

Lawline FAQ: You have been summoned to serve on a Jury. Congratulations. Jury Service is the only way that a person not elected to or appointed to a position in the court system can serve in the judicial branch of our government.

Jury Duty Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about jury duty in the United States District Court.

Jury Duty Instructions

If you are called to jury duty in the United States District Court, these instructions will tell you what to expect.

State Grand Jury Clerk of Court

Name and contact information for the Clerk of Court for the State Grand Jury

Trial Juror Handbook

The purpose of this handbook is to acquaint trial jurors with the general nature and importance of their role as jurors. It explains some of the language and procedures used in court, and it offers some suggestions helpful to jurors in performing this important public service.

Court of Appeals Clerk's Office

The fifteen-member clerk's office of the Court of Appeals provides services to litigants, media, and members of the general public.

Court of Appeals Judges

Names and links to information about each of the justices on the South Carolina Court of Appeals.

South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure

This topical index will connect you directly to the set of Rules you need.

South Carolina Rules of Evidence

This topical index will connect you directly to the set of Rules you need.

Supreme Court Clerk's Office

The Clerk’s Office is responsible for processing and scheduling matters which are filed with the Supreme Court of South Carolina. This includes appeals, petitions for writs of certiorari in post-conviction relief cases, petitions for writs of certiorari to review decisions of the South Carolina Court of Appeals, petitions or actions brought in the original jurisdiction, certified questions, motions, judicial disciplinary matters, and lawyer disciplinary matters to include reinstatements.

Supreme Court Justices

Names and links to information about each of the justices on the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Library

The Supreme Court Library has over 40,000 volumes of law related materials. It is the second largest public legal research collection in the state after the USC Law Library. We have a strong collection of South Carolina materials including opinions of the South Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, S.C. Code of Laws, S.C. Acts & Joint Resolutions, and several S.C. Bar publications. The collection includes regional and federal reporters, form books, treatises and law journals. Our collection also includes all briefs and records of cases heard before the S.C. Supreme Court from 1918 to the present. We have the briefs and records of cases heard before the S.C. Court of Appeals from 1983 to the present. The Library primarily serves the Supreme Court and other members of the state judiciary and state/federal government agencies. We are open to the general public.

Supreme Court Office of Disciplinary Counsel FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions about misconduct by judges and attorneys.

Supreme Court Office of Disciplinary Counsel - How to File a Complaint

There are no forms or other special requirements to file a complaint, but some things are necessary for both judicial and lawyer complaints. Find out what they are here.

Case Records Search by Clickable Map

Interactive map. The areas listed in red have placed their case records online. Click on one of them to search their case records.

Circuit Court Judges

Names and information about each of the South Carolina Circuit Court Judges.

Circuit Courts

Lawline FAQ: The Court system in South Carolina is set out, for the most part, in the State Constitution. In 1972, an amendment provided for judicial reform, and made a uniform system of circuit courts throughout the State. The circuit courts in South Carolina may be described as courts with original jurisdiction of almost every civil and criminal case.

Circuit Courts - Clerks of Court by Clickable Map

Interactive map. Click on the county to find out information about the local Circuit Court Clerk.

Clerk of Court Manual

Practices and procedures for South Carolina Clerks of Court.

Family Court Judges by Clickable Map

Interactive map. Click on your area to learn about your Family Court Judges.

Family Court Judges by Name

Name and contact information for South Carolina's Family Court Judges.

Magistrates

Name and contact information for each Magistrate.

Magistrates by Clickable Map

Interactive map. Click on your area to learn more about your Magistrates.

Magistrates Landlord/Tenant Court

Lawline FAQ: A magistrate may sit as a judge of a landlord-tenant court. This discussion will concentrate on rental agreements for a personal residence such as an apartment or single family home as opposed to rental of a business.

Masters-in-Equity by Clickable Map

Interactive map. Click on your area to learn about your Master-in-Equity.

Masters-in-Equity Judges

Name and contact information for each judge serving as a Master-in-Equity.

Probate Court Judges

Name and contact information for each Probate Court Judge.

Public Access to Documents in Electronic Case Files

Documents filed in Civil and Criminal cases are available to the public on PACER electronically. Social Security documents are not available.

South Carolina Bench Book for Magistrates and Municipal Court Judges

From this page, you can browse the Bench Book governing Magistrates and Municipal Court Judges. Navigation is down the left side of the page.

South Carolina Family Court Rules

This topical index will connect you directly to the set of Rules you need.

South Carolina Magistrates Court Rules

This topical index will connect you directly to the set of Rules you need.

Clerk of Court Manual

Practices and procedures for South Carolina Clerks of Court.

How Courts Work

Law and the courts are everywhere—on the front page news, in best-selling thrillers, on Court TV and network shows about lawyers. Famous trials are a great subject, full of human drama, but how many of us really understand the work that courts do and how they operate? Here’s a quick primer, with links that will help you go more deeply into the subject.: (1) Courts and Legal Procedure, (2) Steps in a Trial, (3) The Human Side of Being a Judge, (4) Mediation

Legal Terms Glossary

Ordinary words take on extraordinary meanings inside the courthouse. Look them up alphabetically here.

Registers of Deeds by County

Name and contact information for each of the Registers of Deeds.

Resources for Teaching Law

This resource page lists and briefly describes numerous programs, organizations, and websites useful to teachers.

State Grand Jury Clerk of Court

Name and contact information for the Clerk of Court for the State Grand Jury

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