Lower Courts Law Law and Legal Definition

There is a hierarchical system in the U.S. legal sytem whereby lower court decisions may be appealed to higher courts. A lower court is any court below a higher court within the hierarchy of courts. For instance, any court of lesser rank, such as a municipal or justice court is below a superior or county court, a superior or county court is below an appeals court. In the federal court system, a federal District Court of Appeals is below the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the U.S. court system, there is a tradition of lower courts following the rulings of higher courts, referred to as following legal precedent. In this manner, a uniform and consistent outcome of results may be predicted in applying laws to resolve disputes.