The circuit courts were created on April 5, 1977 when Wisconsin voters approved a variety of proposed amendments to Article VII of the Wisconsin Constitution, which pertains to the judicial branch of government. These amendments permitted a reorganization of the Wisconsin courts.
Prior to court reorganization, there were two levels of trial courts in Wisconsin: the county courts and the circuit courts. Although the workload split varied from county to county, in general the judges in the county courts handled probate, juvenile, and traffic matters, and the judges in the circuit courts handled civil and criminal jury trials.
The reorganization created a single level, unified trial court -- the circuit court -- that handles all types of cases.