About the Courts

The Chief Justice is the administrative head of the Judicial Branch and responsible for its overall management.  In 2005, following the transition to full state funding of the trial courts, the Juducial Branch instituted a new governance structure called the Judicial Council which is now the single administrative policy-making body for the Judicial Branch.

The State Court Administrator’s office serves as staff to the Judicial Council and provides central administrative infrastructure services to the entire Judicial Branch including human resources, finance, legal research, information technology, communications, statewide program management, and research and evaluation services. 

The chief justice leads the Supreme Court, which, besides handling the cases that come before the court, has the responsibility for regulating the practice of law and the promulgation of statewide rules of procedure and practice before all courts of the state.

There is a chief judge of the court of appeals, appointed by the governor for a three-year term who serves as the head of that court.

There is a chief judge in each judicial district, elected by the bench for a two-year term, who is responsible for management of the entire judicial district.  The chief judge is assisted by a judicial district administrator.  A county court  administrator oversees the day-to-day operations in each county.  

Mission

To provide justice through a system that assures equal access for the fair and timely resolution of cases and controversies.
 

Vision

The general public and those who use the court system will refer to it as accessible, fair, consistent, responsive, free of discrimination, independent, and well-managed.

Minnesota Judicial Branch Strategic Plan

Levels of Minnesota Courts:

Supreme Court
Court of Appeals
District (Trial) Courts


Judicial Branch FY16 Annual Budget:

  • District Courts- $271,896,000
  • Supreme Court/State Court Administration- $34,259,000
  • Court of Appeals- $11,748,000
  • Total- $317,903,000

How judges are selected:

Elected in the general election. Non-partisan. For the district court, vacancies between general elections are filled by appointment by the governor from a list compiled by the Commission on Judicial Selection.  For the appellate courts, vacancies between general elections are filled by appointment by the governor.  Term of Office: 6 years
 

Number of Authorized Judgeships:

  • Supreme Court- 7
  • Court of Appeals- 19
  • District (Trial) Courts- 289
  • Total- 315

Judicial Salaries – FY16:

  • Supreme Court Chief Justice- $178,892
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice- $162,630
  • Court of Appeals Chief Judge- $160,900
  • Court of Appeals Judge- $153,240
  • District Court Chief Judge- $151,042
  • District Court Judge- $143,851

General Information:

  • Permanent Full-Time Employee Positions Authorized (excluding judges): Appx. 2,500
  • Judicial Districts: 10
  • Funding: State-funded
  • Number of Judicial Branch hearing facilities: 106
  • Oldest Courthouse: Washington County Courthouse, 101 West Pine Street, Stillwater, 1869.
  • Number of Courthouses on the National Register of Historic Places: 62

Informational One-Page Sheets (Topical):