Law Division, Civil Part
The Law Division, Civil Part, of the Superior Court decides cases dealing with a wide variety of subjects, including:
- Name changes,
- Collection of unpaid bills,
- Clearing a criminal record,
- Money damages from negligence (for example, breach of a duty owed to a person by a professional such as a doctor), and
- An injury to a person or property (called a tort), whether intentionally or unintentionally (negligently).
The Law Division, Civil Part also hears any other type of lawsuit involving money damages of more than $15,000.
Law Division, Special Civil Part
This court decides the following types of cases:
- Cases for return of a security deposit in an amount that is less than $15,000 but more than $5,000.
- Cases involving money damages of less than $15,000 but more than $3,000. This includes causes for eviction, unpaid rent, and collection of unpaid bills.
Law Division, Special Civil Part, Small Claims Section
The Small Claims Section decides cases where the person suing wants less than $3,000. This includes cases for unpaid rent, unpaid bills, and damages to property.
Special Exception to Limit of $3,000 for Small Claims Cases.
There is an exception to the dollar limit of $3,000 for cases filed in the Special Civil Part, Small Claims Section for cases where a tenant is asking a landlord to return his or her security deposit. In security deposit cases, the tenant may ask for up to $5,000.
See Civil Practice Division (from the New Jersey Judiciary) for more information. Cases may be appealed from the Law Division to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.
Law Division, Special Civil Part, Landlord/Tenant Section
Almost all of the cases heard in this section are filed by landlords seeking to evict their tenants. Called “Summary Dispossess” proceedings, these eviction cases are scheduled and decided much more quickly than any other civil matters in the state court system.
Law Division, Criminal Part
The Law Division also has a criminal part, which hears cases where a person is accused of a serious crime. Serious crimes are those for which the defendant, if found guilty, will go to prison or jail for a longer period of time than if found guilty of a disorderly person’s offense, which is a more minor type of offense and is usually decided in municipal court. Appeals from some municipal court decisions are also heard in the Criminal Part of the Law Division of the Superior Court.