The Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court 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 Judicial 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 are seven justices on the Supreme Court.

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 are 19 judges on the Court of Appeals.

One district court judge in each judicial district is elected as a chief judge by the bench for a two-year term, and 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. There are 296 district court judges.


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


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:

Judicial Branch FY24/25 Biennial Budget:

  • District Courts- $740,900,000
  • Court of Appeals- $29,818,000
  • Supreme Court/State Court Administration- $95,645,000
  • Total- $866,363,000

How judges are selected:

Minnesota Judicial Branch judges are elected in a general election on a non-partisan basis. For the district court, vacancies between general elections are filled by appointment by the governor typically from a list recommended by the Commission on Judicial Selection.  For the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, vacancies between general elections are filled by appointment by the governor.  Terms of Office: 6 years

Number of Authorized Judgeships:

  • Supreme Court- 7
  • Court of Appeals- 19
  • District (Trial) Courts- 296
  • Total- 322

Judicial Salaries – FY23:

  • Supreme Court Chief Justice- $210,496
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice- $191,359
  • Court of Appeals Chief Judge- $189,325
  • Court of Appeals Judge- $180,313
  • District Court Chief Judge- $177,726
  • District Court Judge- $169,264

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: 103
  • Oldest Courthouse: Washington County Courthouse, 101 West Pine Street, Stillwater, 1869.
  • Oldest Operational Courthouse: Dodge County Courthouse, 22 6th Street E, Mantorville, 1871.
  • Number of Courthouses on the National Register of Historic Places: 62

For more information about the Minnesota Judicial Branch, please see the Informational Brochures.