FAQs

Court User Information

A: Search the Find a Court section of the California Courts website and look for Contact Info on your local court's website.

A: The Judicial Council staff organization, which administers the California Courts website, does not provide legal advice or interpret the law for the general public.

If you need legal advice, you will find many useful resources in the section on free and low-cost legal help at our online Self-Help Center. Specifically, the Lawyers and Legal Help section provides you the contact information for low-cost and free legal help. You can also contact the lawyer referral service in your area to get help finding a lawyer for a consultation.

 

A: Check with the court where the case was filed. Search the Find a Court section of the California Courts website. If you can provide the court with some specific facts about the case, such as case number, case name, or date, the court may be able to assist you.

A: First, direct your complaints to the presiding judge of the court in which the matter was heard. If you then want the Commission on Judicial Performance to review the local court's disposition of your complaint, you must file a request with the commission within 30 days of the court's disposition. You should send the commission both your letter of complaint and the disposition letter the court sent you. If the commission determines that the court abused its authority in the disposition of your complaint, the commission will take action. The Commission on Judicial Performance is located at 455 Golden Gate Ave., Suite 14400, San Francisco, CA 94102-3660, 415-557-1200.

A: Complaints about an attorney should be directed to The State Bar of California. Call the Attorney Complaint Hotline (1-800-843-9053) or download an Attorney Complaint Form from the State Bar's website http://www.calbar.ca.gov.

A: The online Self-Help Center at tells you how to use the small claims courts and gives you links to frequently asked questions and answers, forms, county-by-county resources, and other useful information.

A: You must contact the court specified on the Notice to Appear citation or the law enforcement agency specified on the Notice to Correct Violation form to obtain information about your ticket, including information relating to fines and bail. Please refer to the warnings and follow the instructions provided on your ticket. Direct your inquiries to the specific court indicated on the front of your ticket. Search the Find a Court section of the California Courts website and look for Traffic info.

A: Check with your local court. Search the Find a Court section of the California Courts website. If you want general information about traffic cases and traffic school, check out the Traffic section of our online Self-Help Center.

A: The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal civil rights statute, requires all state and local governmental entities, including the courts, to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities who have an interest in court activities, programs, and services. Rule 1.100 of the California Rules of Court seeks to provide a workable and orderly framework for compliance with the ADA and state laws. Questions and answers about the provisions of rule 1.100 are contained in "Persons With Disabilities: Q&A on Rule of Court 1.100," accessible at http://www.courts.ca.gov/12521.htm.

A: This website’s Careers page lists job openings for the California Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, Judicial Council of California, and certain other branch entities. Application forms are available online; you can fill them out and submit them electronically.

You can also obtain application forms by mail or in person from Judicial Council Human Resources, 455 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102-3660, 415-865-4370.

For career opportunities in the superior courts, please visit their websites or contact their Human Resources departments. This webpage will help you find the website for a local court.

A: Information about the court interpreters program and answers to frequently asked questions about interpreting as a career can be found on the Court Interpreters section of the California Courts website.

A: That information is available on the website maintained by the Legislative Counsel of California, pursuant to California law, at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/. See State Constitution.

Judges

A: Trial judges are selected through a combination of election and appointment by the Governor (who fills vacancies). The authority for this process is in the California Constitution, article 6, section 16, http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.const/.article_6.

A: The Governor fills vacancies in these courts by appointment, as provided in the California Constitution, article 6, section 16.

See How appellate court justices are selected.

A: There are 7 justices on the Supreme Court, 105 justices in the Courts of Appeal, and approximately 2,175 judges, commissioners, referees, assigned judges, and temporary judges in the trial courts.

A: Biographical information can be found on the Supreme Court site. This information can also be found in California Courts and Judges by Mark Thompson and Elizabeth Smith (James Publishing), available in the reference section of most libraries.

A: Information about the justices appears on the Courts of Appeal Web sites, links to which can be found Click on the Court of Appeal district for which you want the information. Information about the justices can also be found in California Courts and Judges by Mark Thompson and Elizabeth Smith (James Publishing), found in the reference section of most libraries.

A: This information can be found in California Courts and Judges by Mark Thompson and Elizabeth Smith (James Publishing), found in the reference section of most libraries. California has approximately 1,600 trial court judges, and biographical information about all of them is not available online. But some trial courts maintain Web sites with information about their judges.

A: Search the California Trial Court Roster on the California Courts website.

A: Judges are guided by the California Code of Judicial Ethics.

A: The Commission on Judicial Performance is the independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and judicial incapacity and for disciplining judges. Complaints must be in writing. The commission does not have jurisdiction over temporary judges or private judges. The commission is not an appellate court and cannot change a decision made by any judge. When a judge makes an incorrect decision or misapplies the law, the ruling can be changed only through appeal to the appropriate reviewing court. The commission cannot provide legal assistance or advice to individuals or intervene in litigation on behalf of a party even if a judge has engaged in misconduct. The Commission on Judicial Performance is located at 455 Golden Gate Ave., Suite 14400, San Francisco, CA 94102-3660. The commission’s phone number is 415-557-1200.

Courts and Their Work

A: At the top level is the Supreme Court, which may decide to review cases decided by the Courts of Appeal. The Courts of Appeal—the intermediate appellate courts—rule on appeals from the trial courts, except in death penalty cases, which are appealed automatically to the Supreme Court. The Courts of Appeal determine whether a trial court committed a legal error in handling a case. Below the appellate courts are the trial courts. Local trial courts are the judicial forums with which citizens are most likely to have contact. These courts handle criminal matters; legal business concerning probate; juvenile, traffic, and family matters; real estate and business contracts; personal injury claims; and small claims.

A: Statistics on case filings and dispositions in certain categories (such as criminal, juvenile dependency, juvenile delinquency, and small claims) can be found in the annual Court Statistics Report.

A: Go to Appellate Briefs and select the "search" button and enter the case number for the case for which you want to see briefs.

A: Generally, new and revised forms are available on the California Courts Website just prior to their effective date. This practice avoids the filing of forms that are not yet effective. The new and revised forms are available at Forms

A: The complete rules of court can be found at Rules of the Court

A: The federal court system includes the Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. Courts of Appeals, U.S. District Courts, U.S. Courts of Federal Claims, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. For U.S. Supreme Court opinions, see http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct. To see official U.S. Supreme Court opinions, see http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/opinions.html.

For information on the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals, U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, see http://www.uscourts.gov.

Policy Setting for the Courts

A: The Judicial Council, chaired by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, is the constitutionally created body that sets the direction for California's judicial branch and provides leadership for improving the quality of justice and advancing its consistent, independent, impartial, and accessible administration on behalf of the public and the court system, as a whole, of California.

A: Judicial Council staff headquarters is in the Ronald M. George State Office Complex in the San Francisco's Civic Center area. You may enter the building from 455 Golden Gate Avenue or 350 McAllister Street.

Judicial Council of California
455 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102-3688
Phone: 415-865-4200
TDD: 415-865-8004

Sacramento Office
2860 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95833-3509
916-263-7885

A: The Judicial Council's Executive and Planning Committee annually solicits nominations for membership to the council and its advisory committees. During the nomination solicitation period (March through April for the Judicial Council and April through June for the advisory committees), nomination forms are available online at the Apply or Nominate web page, and you can complete them and submit them electronically. Outside of the nomination solicitation period, you may complete and submit an interest card. You can also obtain further information from the Judicial Council Support unit by telephoning 415-865-7640.

A: The Judicial Council's business meetings are open to the public. The schedule for the current year's meetings is posted at the Judicial Council Meetings webpage. Seven days before each meeting, a meeting webpage is posted, with the agenda, and with hyperlinks to reports that have been approved by the council's Executive and Planning Committee. Subsequently approved reports are linked soon after approval.

The procedures for making a public comment during the meeting are available on this webpage and details for public comment at each meeting are posted on that meeting's webpage.

Audio of the meetings is broadcast live on this website, and audio recordings are made available on the meeting webpage soon after each meeting. The actions taken at meetings are summarized in a news release following each meeting, posted in the Newsroom and on the meeting webpage. Meeting transcripts are posted, and minutes are usually approved at the next council meeting. For additional information about the meetings, contact Judicial Council Communications at 415-865-7738 or e-mail publicaffairs@jud.ca.gov.

A: Most items on the Judicial Council meeting agenda reflect the work of one of the council's advisory committees. You may submit your issue or problem to the appropriate advisory committee.

A: To find out more about this process, see "How a Proposal Becomes a Rule" at http://www.courts.ca.gov/howprorule.pdf. You can send your proposal for a rule or form change to legal-services@jud.ca.gov.

About This Website

A: Most documents on our website are posted in one or more of three formats: HTML (.htm), Microsoft Word (.doc), or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf). Viewing an HTML document requires no additional software and can be viewed through your browser. Viewing a Word document requires that you download the document and open it in Microsoft Word. Viewing an Adobe Acrobat document requires the latest version of Adobe Reader for either online or offline viewing. Downloading a document requires that you right-click on the file and select "Save Link As" or use the File/Save As option on your browser's toolbar.

Adobe Reader enables online viewing of PDF documents through your Web browser, such as Internet Explorer. This means that you will not have to launch the Adobe Reader separately after downloading PDF documents because they will automatically be opened in the Adobe Reader by the browser. You may still download and view the document offline through the Adobe Reader without the browser if you choose to do so.

Download the free Adobe Reader designed for your operating system or platform.

There is a known problem with certain versions of browsers that causes PDF files not to display completely or not to display at all inside your browser window. The general solution is to configure your computer to display PDF files in a separate Adobe Acrobat application, rather than within a browser window. To do this, follow the instructions below:

Acrobat 7 and Above

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat or Reader.
  2. Select Edit > Preferences > Internet.
  3. Deselect the check box next to "Display PDF in browser."
  4. Close Adobe Acrobat or Reader.
  5. Close browser, if open.

Alternatively, hold the cursor over the PDF link and right-click the mouse. Select "Save Target As." Save the PDF to an appropriate location (e.g., your desktop). Minimize or close the browser window and open the file in the location where the file was saved.

If you are still unable to view the PDF file, get more troubleshooting information from the Adobe website.

Google Chrome: Please note that our site currently does not support Chrome’s built-in PDF Reader. You may select another browser to view Forms, or disable the Chrome PDF Reader and select an alternate PDF Reader. To disable the built-in viewer, please read Chrome's latest Help section on “PDF viewer”.

AOL Users: While the AOL browser does support the Adobe Reader, there is a technical problem within the browser that prevents it from displaying PDF files online. This means that, if you are using AOL, download and save the PDF file to your hard drive and open it with the Adobe Reader or consider using an alternative Web browser.

Some files are provided as Microsoft Excel or Access files. To view these files, you will need to download them and open them within Excel or Access.

If we think that downloading a large file is likely to be problematic, we provide it as a compressed file in .ZIP format. Before you can view a .ZIP file, you will need to decompress or unZIP it with a utility like PKUNZIP, WinZip, or Stuffit.

A: For free tools that allow persons with visual disabilities to read documents in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, please visit access.adobe.com. These tools convert PDF documents into either HTML or ASCII text which can then be read by many screen reading programs

A: When you click on a link to hear an audiocast or view a streaming video, Windows Media Player will start playing it automatically. The first step is to ensure you have the appropriate hardware and software, as follows:

  • Hardware: You will need a computer with a sound card and either speakers or headphones. Most computers sold within the last five years or advertised as "multimedia" have these.
  • Software: You will need Windows Media Player, which is available for free and can be downloaded online. We recommend the latest version (version 9 or higher), but our audiocasts and videos should also play in versions 7 or 8.

If you cannot hear or view the broadcast, the problem is likely that either Windows Media Player has not been installed, or your computer network is operating behind a "firewall" that is blocking reception of broadband media. A firewall is software or hardware used to keep unauthorized users from accessing your computer, but it can also block incoming data, such as media.

First, make sure that you have a recent version of Windows Media Player and download a newer version if necessary.

If you have the most recent version, check whether there is a firewall enabled on your network:

  • If you are on an office network, you may need to ask your network administrator to allow access to the ports used by the Windows media player.
  • If you are on a home network, consult your firewall's documentation for instructions on how to allow audio/video streaming. Some antivirus software can also block streaming audio/video content. Disable your antivirus software temporarily to determine if this is the source of the problem. If the stream works, consult your documentation to learn how to permit audio/video streams, and don't forget to reactivate your antivirus software.

The following are helpful links for the Windows Media Player:

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