The New Hampshire Circuit Court began operation on July 1, 2011 merging the District and Probate Courts and the Family Division into a single, streamlined system designed to improve services to both the public and the Bar while producing significant cost savings. The merger is the most significant overhaul of the New Hampshire Judicial Branch since the early 1980s, when the legislature unified all the state courts under a single administrative and financial structure.
The Circuit Court, which will now include District, Probate and Family Divisions, will handle 90 percent of all cases filed in the state court system. Legislation establishing the Circuit Court (HB 609) was signed by Gov. John Lynch on May 16, 2011.
Jurisdictions for the district, probate and family divisions of the Circuit Court will be the same as the prior District and Probate Courts and Family Division. Court locations, addresses, telephone numbers, rules, filing procedures and scheduling will also remain the same in the District, Probate and Family Divisions of the Circuit Court.
There are 10 Circuit Courts one for each of the state's counties. Each circuit will have at least one Circuit Court clerk. Some of the state's largest counties have more than one Circuit Court clerk assigned to manage divisions in more than one city or town. The locations of the district, family and probate divisions are now circuit court locations.
In Cheshire County, the marital division will continue to operate as part of the Cheshire County Superior Court; in all other counties, the Circuit Court Family Division will operate at the same locations as the current Family Division.
Judges who now come under the Circuit Court will continue to preside over the same types of cases for which they were appointed prior to the July 1, 2011 merger.
Questions about the Circuit Court should be directed to the circuit court clerks or to the Circuit Court Service Centers:
Probate Service Centers