The Circuit Court is part of the unified statewide court system. The Clerk of Court,
Circuit Court Division, works with five Circuit Court Judges and one Master-In- Equity.
The new judicial wing contains 8 courtrooms and ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)
facilities. The Circuit Court is one of general jurisdiction; that is, it has the
authority to hear all types of cases. Over the years many specialized types of cases
have been assigned to other courts. For instance, estate matters are heard in Probate
Court; divorces and juvenile criminal cases are heard in Family Court; small claims,
misdemeanors, and traffic tickets are heard in one of several Magistrate Courts or Municipal
Courts. (For information regarding the Clerk of Court, Family Court Division, click on
Family Court under the Links section on the right.)
Although Circuit Court can hear appeals from courts in the lower jurisdictions, it serves
primarily as a trial court for the larger civil cases and felony criminal cases. When a
Circuit Court judge is presiding over a civil trial, it is referred to as the Court of
Common Pleas. When a Circuit Court judge is presiding over a criminal trial, it is referred
to as the Court of General Sessions. Even though the rules and procedures for Common Pleas
are different from those used in General Sessions, a Circuit Court judge can hear either
Common Pleas cases or General Sessions cases depending upon how he or she is assigned each week.
The Circuit Court is a formal court of record, and operates under the South Carolina
Constitution, the Code of Laws of South Carolina, and the Rules of Civil and Criminal
Procedure. Ninety-nine percent of the people and businesses having cases in Circuit Court
are represented by attorneys. These attorneys have spent at least 3 years in law school
studying the various laws and procedures. Laws regarding fairness and impartiality prevent
the judges and Clerk of Courts staff from giving legal advice to anyone, including those who
try to represent themselves. We recommend that you consult an attorney prior to any kind of
trial or appeal to the Circuit Court. Otherwise, you will need to study the South Carolina
Constitution, the Code of Laws of South Carolina, and the Rules of Civil Procedure or Rules
of Criminal Procedure. These laws and rules may be found in the Greenville County Main Library
or Greenville Technical College Library.
In Greenville County the Circuit Court is located at the corner of Church Street and East
North Street. This is a three story red brick building with a sign on your left as you enter
downtown Greenville. The courthouse takes up the entire block.
The Courthouse is open from 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday.