Federal District Courts

Federal District Courts are the general trial courts of the United States Federal Court System.  These district trial courts were established by Congress.  The federal court system includes 94 district courts in the 50 states, Washington, D. C., Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Marinara Islands.  A Federal District Court is a court of law, equity, and admiralty where civil and criminal cases are heard.  Each federal district also has a bankruptcy unit, as district courts have exclusive jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases. 

There are 89 such federal judicial districts in the United States.  Most states have only one federal judicial district.  Larger states can have between two and four districts.  For the purpose of a proper federal judicial administration, a number of federal judicial districts are further divided into federal judicial divisions.  Each federal judicial district has at least one federal judicial court.  In some federal districts and divisions, there are more than one federal district trial courts.  However, it is not constitutionally mandatory that there must be a district court at every federal judicial district. 

Federal district courts generally have jurisdiction to hear cases involving federal law and those involving citizens of different states.  If a party in a state case can prove that a federal district court has jurisdiction to hear a case, the party may remove the case to the federal court.  However, the federal court may abstain from hearing a case that involves questions of both federal law and state law.  A situation may also arise where a federal district court may no longer have jurisdiction to hear a case because of changes in the parties to the suit.  If a case has been removed to federal district court and the federal district court lacks jurisdiction, the court on motion of one of the parties will remand the case to the appropriate state court.


Inside Federal District Courts