About California Courts



California’s court system is the largest in the nation and serves a population of more than 39 million people—about 12 percent of the total U.S. population.

order in which cases are seen

The vast majority of cases in the California courts begin in one of the 58 superior, or trial, courts, which reside in each of the state’s 58 counties. With approximately 450 court buildings throughout the state, these courts hear both civil and criminal cases as well as family, probate, mental health, juvenile, and traffic cases.

The next level of judicial authority resides with the Courts of Appeal. Most cases before the Courts of Appeal involve the review of a superior court decision being contested by a party to the case. The Legislature divided the state geographically into six appellate districts.

The state Supreme Court serves as the highest court in the state and has discretion to review decisions of the Courts of Appeal in order to settle important questions of law and to resolve conflicts among the Courts of Appeal. The court also must review the appeal in any case in which a trial court has imposed a judgment of death.


California Courts at a Glance

  • Court levels: 3
  • Trial courts: 58—one in each county
  • Court of Appeal districts: 6
  • Highest court: California Supreme Court
  • Judicial branch budget is less than 2% of the State General Fund


Jury Service

  • Jury pay: $15/day starting with second day of service; and travel reimbursement of 34 cents per mile round trip or $12 per day if using public transit 
  • Approximately 10.6 million jurors were summoned for jury service*
  • Approximately 4.3 million were qualified and available to serve*
  • Approximately 76,000 were sworn in as jurors*

*Numbers are based on fiscal year 2021-22 data


Language Access

  • Languages and dialects spoken in California—more than 200
  • Percentage of Californians that speak a non-English language at home: 44%
  • Percentage of Californians with English-language limitations: approximately 17.4% (approximately 7 million)
  • Languages certified for court interpreters: American Sign Language and 15 spoken languages—Arabic, Armenian (Eastern), Armenian (Western), Cantonese, Farsi (Persian of Iran), Japanese, Khmer (Cambodian), Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese
  • The top 10 most interpreted languages in courtroom proceedings statewide: Spanish (91%), followed by American Sign Language, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Arabic, Farsi, and Tagalog.


California Supreme Court

  • Justices: 1 Chief Justice, 6 Associate Justices
  • Filings: 5490 annually
  • Written Opinions: 56 annually


Courts of Appeal

  • Justices: 106 (authorized positions)
  • Filings: 20,097 annually
  • Dispositions: 22,004 annually


Superior Courts (trial courts)

  • 1,755 judges (authorized positions)
  • Filings: 4,519,099 annually
  • Dispositions: 2,530,438


Case filings, opinions, and disposition information on this page are from the most recent Court Statistics Report.