Court system overview

Following is a brief overview of the Wisconsin Court System. For more details on each level of the court system follow the links below.

Find information on how a case moves through the courts here.

Municipal courts

Circuit courts

Court of Appeals

Supreme Court

Administrative/management structure

The administrative structure of the court system is detailed in Article VII, section 4(3) of the Wisconsin Constitution, Statute (758.19) and Supreme Court Rule (SCR) Chapter 70 Adobe PDF. The chief justice is the administrative head of the judicial system, exercising authority according to procedures adopted by the Supreme Court. The structure is analogous to a corporation, with the chief justice as the chair of the board, the other justices as the board of directors, and the director of state courts as the chief operating officer.

For administrative purposes, the circuit courts are divided into nine judicial administrative districts. The districts range in size from one county to 15 counties. The judicial business in each district is supervised by a chief judge selected by the Supreme Court to serve a two-year term. A chief judge can serve up to three two-year terms if the court continues to appoint him or her. Each district also has a district court administrator who is a permanent employee of the Director of State Courts Office who in turn is assisted by a court management assistant. The district court administrators' offices are generally located in the largest city in the respective district.

Budget information