North Carolina Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of North Carolina is the highest court in the state of North Carolina.  It is the court of last resort in the state, meaning that there are no further appeals from the decisions of the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court has a Chief Justice and six associate justices.  These Judges are elected by qualified voters of the State for a term of eight years.  Four Justices constitute a quorum for the business transactions of the court.

The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to hear claims against the State.  However, its decisions are only recommendatory in nature, and no execution of the decisions shall be carried out.  Instead, the decisions are reported to the next session of the General Assembly.  It is the General Assembly that carries out the action in connection with the Supreme Court’s decision.  

The Supreme Court also has jurisdiction to review decisions of the Court of Appeals as well as the General Court of Justice and of administrative agencies.  The Supreme Court also has the power of discretionary review. Accordingly, the Supreme Court may upon the  motion of any party to a lawsuit, or by move of the state, or on its own motion, certify a cause to be reviewed by the Supreme Court, either before or after it has been determined by the Court of Appeals.  If the cause is transferred to the Supreme Court for review after determination of the cause in the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court reviews the decision of the Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court may certify a cause to be transferred to it before the cause is determined by the Court of Appeals, if the Supreme Court is of the opinion that:

  1. The subject matter of the appeal has significant public interest, or
  2. The cause involves legal principles of major significance to the jurisprudence of the State, or
  3. Delay in final adjudication is likely to result from failure to certify and thereby cause substantial harm, or
  4. The work load of the courts of the appellate division is such that the expeditious administration of justice requires certification.

The Supreme Court may certify a cause to be transferred to it after the cause has been determined by the Court of Appeals, if the Supreme Court is of the opinion that:

  1. The subject matter of the appeal has significant public interest, or
  2. The cause involves legal principles of major significance to the jurisprudence of the State, or
  3. The decision of the Court of Appeals appears likely to be in conflict with a decision of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to issue writs of habeas corpus and prerogative writs, including mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, and supersedeas.  Finally, the Supreme Court has the power to prescribe rules of practice and procedure designed to procure the expeditious and inexpensive disposition of all litigation in the appellate division.

North Carolina Supreme Court Website: http://www.nccourts.org/Courts/Appellate/Supreme/


Inside North Carolina Supreme Court