What is the difference between a County Court and a County Court at Law in Texas? A link would be nice. ?

I've been searching websites for a while, but haven't been able to figure it out.


Ok, well first, I have never been in jail. Second, there has to be a difference, I just can't find it. However, the Texas Legal Code says that County Courts at Law can have jurisdiction over condemnation procedures for eminent domain cases, but that County Courts do not. Thus, I'm trying to find the difference.

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    wow! I don't live in Texas and I'm not a lawyer but this seems really complex. Wiki says:



    The Texas Constitution requires each county to have a single constitutional county court. This court presided over by a "county judge", who is elected at-large by the voters of the county. The county court has appellate jurisdiction over JP and municipal court cases (for municipal court cases, this may involve a trial de novo if the lower court is not a "court of record"), exclusive jurisdiction over "Class A" and "Class B" misdemeanors (these offenses can involve jail time), and concurrent jurisdiction over civil cases where the amount in controversy is moderately sized. There is no requirement that the judge of the Constitutional County Court be an attorney.

    Since the county judge is also responsible for presiding over the Commissioners Court (the main executive and legislative body of the county), in most counties the Texas Legislature has established county courts at law. In most counties with courts at law, the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the constitutional county court has been transferred to the county courts at law. County court at law judges are required to be attorneys.

    In another unique twist, the Constitution grants the Legislature the authority to determine which court handles probate matters. Thus, in ten of the 15 largest counties (specifically, the counties of Bexar, Collin, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Galveston, Harris, Hidalgo, Tarrant, and Travis) the Legislature has established one or more Statutory Probate Courts, which handle matters of probate, guardianship, trust, and mental health. Statutory Probate Courts also have the jurisdiction of a district court in matters pertaining to an estate, such as personal injury cases resulting in death or mental incapacity, in trust litigation, and in any other matter involving a deceased or incapacitated person. There are no jurisdictional monetary limits on the types of lawsuits that a statutory probate court may hear.


    So it sounds almost like in order to avoid conflict of interest and to preserve a lot of power in the County Commissioners there is a "separation of powers".

    The Texas Statutes pretty much define for each county what each court is allowed to do:


    See sections 25 and 26 (Statutory and Constitutional courts)

    For example: Sec. 25.1031. HARRIS COUNTY. (Houston)

    It defines the number of courts at law (15) as well as civil and probate courts and explicity lists the cases they can hear:


    (a) A county civil court at law in Harris County has jurisdiction over all civil matters and causes, original and appellate, prescribed by law for county courts, but does not have the jurisdiction of a probate court. A county civil court at law has jurisdiction in appeals of civil cases from justice courts in Harris County.

    (b) Repealed by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 746, Sec. 70, eff. Oct. 1, 1991.

    (c) A county civil court at law has exclusive jurisdiction in Harris County of eminent domain proceedings, both statutory and inverse, regardless of the amount in controversy. In addition to other jurisdiction provided by law, a county civil court at law has jurisdiction to:

    (1) decide the issue of title to real or personal property;

    (2) hear a suit to recover damages for slander or defamation of character;

    (3) hear a suit for the enforcement of a lien on real property;

    (4) hear a suit for the forfeiture of a corporate charter;

    (5) hear a suit for the trial of the right to property valued at $200 or more that has been levied on under a writ of execution, sequestration, or attachment; and

    (6) hear a suit for the recovery of real property.


    (a) A county criminal court at law in Harris County has the criminal jurisdiction provided by law for county courts and appellate jurisdiction in appeals of criminal cases from justice courts and municipal courts in the county.

    (b) The judge of a county criminal court at law has the same powers, rights, and privileges as to criminal matters as a county judge having criminal jurisdiction.

    (c) A county criminal court at law or its judge may issue writs of habeas corpus in criminal misdemeanor cases and all writs necessary for the enforcement of its jurisdiction.


    (b) The Probate Court No. 3 of Harris County has primary responsibility for mental illness proceedings and for all administration related to mental illness proceedings, including budget preparation, staff management, and the adoption of administrative policy. The Probate Court No. 4 of Harris County has secondary responsibility for mental illness proceedings.

  • 4 years ago


    Source(s): Court Records Search Database : http://CourtRecords.oruty.com/?Ogk
  • 1 decade ago

    they are one in the same. you may have paper work (possibly from the jail if u were locked up) that says county court. but it is the same thing as county court at law. if you know the county's name - google it and it should give you the link.

    Source(s): i work in a tx jail
  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    thats a good question I hope you get some reasonable answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    what the hell r u talking about

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