Words about places in your civil court case

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Words about places in your civil court case

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These are words you may hear and see in Louisiana state court. These words are mostly about civil (not criminal) issues.

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Be sure you know which court and which courthouse you need before you take legal action. You must bring your case in the right kind of court for your legal issue. The court also must be in the right place or location for your issue. Try to talk with a lawyer before filing papers or starting a case. If you do not bring your case in the right place any judgment you win might not be valid.

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Jurisdiction: Jurisdiction is the court’s power to hear and decide a case. Different courts have different kinds of jurisdiction. It is your job to find out which court is right for your issue.

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Venue Venue: Venue is whether the court is in the right location or place for your case. A case has to be filed in the right place. This means picking the right court and the right parish. If you do not bring your case in the right venue the case may not be valid, even if you win.

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Domicile: A person’s “domicile” is that person’s real and permanent home. People living for a time someplace else sometimes are still “domiciled” where they were living before.

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City Court: A city court handles smaller civil cases. Check to see if your city has a city court and what cases it handles.

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WARNING! Check first with the court to see if your case involves more money than the court allows.

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Louisiana State Judicial District Court: A Louisiana Judicial District Court (sometimes called “JDC”) typically handles criminal and civil cases, but there are exceptions. Judicial Districts generally have numbers, like the 10th Judicial District, the 32nd Judicial District, and so on. A judicial district sometimes covers more than one parish. Find out which judicial district you need, which parish you need and which court inside that parish you need.

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Justice of the Peace Court: The Justice of the Peace Court generally handles smaller cases. WARNING! Check first to see if your case involves more money than the court allows.

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Parish Court: Parish Courts generally handle smaller cases. WARNING! Check first to see if your case involves more money than the court allows.

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Court of Appeal: Most appeals from trial courts in the state of Louisiana go to the Court of Appeal for that area. There are exceptions. If you have to appeal anything, talk to a lawyer.

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The Louisiana Supreme Court: This is Louisiana’s highest state court. This court hears only certain cases. It can be very hard to get this court to review your case.

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Civil Sheriff's Office: You go to the office of the Civil Sheriff to get papers served on someone by a court official.

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Clerk of Court, Clerk’s Office: The Clerk of Court’s office is usually in the courthouse, but it may be in a different place. This is the office where you file court papers. There is only one Clerk of Court for each court. The Clerk of Court may have staff, like deputy or assistant clerks.

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Domestic Violence Shelter: This is a place where people facing family violence can go to try to be safe. These places may offer a place to sleep plus other help, like counseling. The Louisiana Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24 hours a day: 1-888-411-1333.

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Judge's Chambers and Courtroom: The Judge’s offices are called chambers. The courtroom is where the judge usually holds court.

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Free Legal Services Programs: There are many nonprofit law firms that give people free legal help. People usually have to fall below certain income limits to get help, and there may be other rules about what kinds of cases these offices can take. Sometimes these programs are called “legal aid” offices. Find Louisiana programs that offer free legal help to qualified people on www.lawhelp.org/la.

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“Pro Bono” Lawyers: Some programs try to link people with free legal help from “pro bono” lawyers. The lawyers are sometimes called “volunteer” lawyers because they donate their time for free. Offices that try to connect free lawyers with people who need them are sometimes called “pro bono programs” or “volunteer lawyer” programs. These offices offer clinics to teach people about legal issues. Call your local pro bono program or volunteer lawyer program to find out more. Find Louisiana programs that offer free legal help to qualified people on www.lawhelp.org/la.

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Southeast Louisiana Legal Services www.slls.org Free legal information for low-income people: www.lawhelp.org/la Resources for Louisiana’s public interest and pro bono advocates: www.probono.net/la Thank you for watching this presentation. Prepared in conjunction with the Pro Se Subcommittee of the Access to Justice Committee of the Louisiana State Bar Association.

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