District courts are created by the Constitution. They are the trial courts of Kansas, with general original jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, including divorce and domestic relations, damage suits, probate and administration of estates, guardianships, conservatorships, care of the mentally ill, juvenile matters, and small claims. It is here that the criminal and civil jury trials are held. Kansas is divided into judicial districts, with a varying number of judges in each district. There is a district court in each county and an office of the clerk of the court where cases may be filed.
Records related to most judicial proceedings are available at the District Court Clerk's office or may be available online through a subscription service. The District Court Record search provides you with an easy way to search court records from a majority of the counties in the state of Kansas. A subscription to Kansas.gov is required for this service.
The state is also divided into six judicial departments, each of which includes several judicial districts. One justice of the State Supreme Court serves as departmental justice over each department. The departmental justice may assign judges from one judicial district to another.
Judges of the district court must be lawyers. Some counties have district magistrate judges, who may or may not be lawyers, and whose jurisdiction is limited. By state law, there is at least one resident judge in each county.
One judge in each district is designated chief judge. A chief judge has, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, general control over case assignments within the district and general supervisory authority over the clerical and administrative functions of the court. Until July 1, 2014, the Kansas Supreme Court appointed the chief judge of each judicial district. After July 1, 2014, the chief judge is elected by the judges in the district following a procedure of their choosing.
Appeals may be taken from the district courts to the Court of Appeals and in some cases to the Supreme Court.