The basic structure of the courts in Missouri is the same as in federal court. There is a trial court, an intermediate appellate (appeals) court and a final appellate (supreme) court. The trial courts are found at the county level and are referred to as circuit courts. Missouri’s counties and the City of St. Louis are organized into 46 judicial circuits. There is a court in every county. The circuit court is typically in the county seat (or the City of St. Louis) and may be in additional locations in the county. Within the circuit court, there are various divisions, such as associate circuit, small claims, municipal, family, probate, criminal and juvenile. Learn more about the Missouri circuit courts here.
Most issues start in the trial or circuit court with a petition or complaint. Examples include a nuisance complaint between two private parties or a case against the government challenging the issuance of a permit or regulation.