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New Jersey Constitution

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Judicial rules and regulations are found in Article VI and Article XI of the New Jersey Constitution. The governing document of the state has had three different versions, with the most recent adopted in 1947.[1]

Article VI

Section I

1. The judicial power shall be vested in a Supreme Court, a Superior Court, and other courts of limited jurisdiction. The other courts and their jurisdiction may from time to time be established, altered or abolished by law.

Article VI, Section I, paragraph 1 amended effective December 7, 1978.

Section II

1. The Supreme Court shall consist of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices. Five members of the court shall constitute a quorum. When necessary, the Chief Justice shall assign the Judge or Judges of the Superior Court, senior in service, as provided by rules of the Supreme Court, to serve temporarily in the Supreme Court. In case the Chief Justice is absent or unable to serve, a presiding Justice designated in accordance with rules of the Supreme Court shall serve temporarily in his stead.

2. The Supreme Court shall exercise appellate jurisdiction in the last resort in all causes provided in this Constitution.

3. The Supreme Court shall make rules governing the administration of all courts in the State and, subject to the law, the practice and procedure in all such courts. The Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction over the admission to the practice of law and the discipline of persons admitted.

Section III

1. The Superior Court shall consist of such number of judges as may be authorized by law, each of whom shall exercise the powers of the court subject to rules of the Supreme Court. The Superior Court shall at all times consist of at least two judges who shall be assigned to sit in each of the counties of this State, and who are resident therein at the time of appointment and reappointment.

Article VI, Section III, paragraph 1 amended effective December 7, 1978.

2. The Superior Court shall have original general jurisdiction throughout the State in all causes.

3. The Superior Court shall be divided into an Appellate Division, a Law Division, and a Chancery Division, which shall include a family part. Each division shall have such other parts, consist of such number of judges, and hear such causes, as may be provided by rules of the Supreme Court. At least two judges of the Superior Court shall at all times be assigned to sit in each of the counties of the State, who at the time of their appointment and reappointment were residents of that county provided, however, that the number of judges required to reside in the county wherein they sit shall be at least equal in number to the number of judges of the county court sitting in each of the counties at the adoption of this amendment.

Article VI, Section III, paragraph 3 amended effective December 8, 1983.

4. Subject to rules of the Supreme Court, the Law Division and the Chancery Division shall each exercise the powers and functions of the other division when the ends of justice so require, and legal and equitable relief shall be granted in any cause so that all matters in controversy between the parties may be completely determined.

Section IV

Article VI, Section IV, repealed effective December 7, 1978.

Section V

1. Appeals may be taken to the Supreme Court:

(a) In causes determined by the appellate division of the Superior Court involving a question arising under the Constitution of the United States or this State;

(b) In causes where there is a dissent in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court;

(c) In capital causes;

(d) On certification by the Supreme Court to the Superior Court and, where provided by rules of the Supreme Court, to the inferior courts; and

(e) In such causes as may be provided by law.

2. Appeals may be taken to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court from the law and chancery divisions of the Superior Court and in such other causes as may be provided by law.

Article VI, Section V, paragraphs 1 and 2 amended effective December 7, 1978.

3. The Supreme Court and the Appellate Division of the Superior Court may exercise such original jurisdiction as may be necessary to the complete determination of any cause on review.

4. Prerogative writs are superseded and, in lieu thereof, review, hearing and relief shall be afforded in the Superior Court, on terms and in the manner provided by rules of the Supreme Court, as of right, except in criminal causes where such review shall be discretionary.

Section VI

1. The Governor shall nominate and appoint, with the advice and consent of the Senate, the Chief Justice and associate justices of the Supreme Court, the Judges of the Superior Court, and the judges of the inferior courts with jurisdiction extending to more than one municipality; except that upon the abolition of the juvenile and domestic relations courts or family court and county district courts as provided by law, the judges of those former courts shall become the Judges of the Superior Court without nomination by the Governor or confirmation by the Senate. No nomination to such an office shall be sent to the Senate for confirmation until after 7 days' public notice by the Governor.

Article VI, Section VI, paragraph 1 amended effective December 8, 1983.

2. The justices of the Supreme Court and the judges of the Superior Court shall each prior to his appointment have been admitted to the practice of law in this State for at least 10 years.

Article VI, Section VI, paragraph 2 amended effective December 7, 1978.

3. The Justices of the Supreme Court and the Judges of the Superior Court shall hold their offices for initial terms of 7 years and upon reappointment shall hold their offices during good behavior; provided however, that, upon the abolition of the juvenile and domestic relations courts or family court and county district courts as provided by law, the judges in office in those former courts who have acquired tenure and the Judges of the Superior Court who have acquired tenure as a judge in those former courts prior to appointment to the Superior Court, shall have tenure as Judges of the Superior Court. Judges of the juvenile and domestic relations courts or family court and county district courts who have not acquired tenure as a judge of those former courts shall hold their offices for the period of their respective terms which remain unexpired and shall acquire tenure upon reappointment to the Superior Court. Such justices and judges shall be retired upon attaining the age of 70 years. Provisions for the pensioning of the Justices of the Supreme Court and the Judges of the Superior Court shall be made by law.

Article VI, Section VI, paragraph 3 amended effective December 8, 1983.

4. The Justices of the Supreme Court and the Judges of the Superior Court shall be subject to impeachment, and any judicial officer impeached shall not exercise his office until acquitted. The Judges of the Superior Court shall also be subject to removal from office by the Supreme Court for such causes and in such manner as shall be provided by law.

5. Whenever the Supreme Court shall certify to the Governor that it appears that any Justice of the Supreme Court or Judge of the Superior Court is so incapacitated as substantially to prevent him from performing his judicial duties, the Governor shall appoint a commission of three persons to inquire into the circumstances; and, on their recommendation, the Governor may retire the justice or judge from office, on pension as may be provided by law.

Article VI, Section VI, paragraphs 4 and 5 amended effective December 7, 1978.

6. The Justices of the Supreme Court and the Judges of the Superior Court shall receive for their services such salaries as may be provided by law, which shall not be diminished during the term of their appointment. They shall not, while in office, engage in the practice of law or other gainful pursuit.

7. The Justices of the Supreme Court and the Judges of the Superior Court shall hold no other office or position, of profit, under this State or the United States. Any such justice or judge who shall become a candidate for an elective public office shall thereby forfeit his judicial office.

Article VI, Section VI, paragraph 7 amended effective December 7, 1978.

Section VII

1. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall be the administrative head of all the courts in the State. He shall appoint an Administrative Director to serve at his pleasure.

2. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall assign Judges of the Superior Court to the Divisions and Parts of the Superior Court, and may from time to time transfer Judges from one assignment to another, as need appears. Assignments to the Appellate Division shall be for terms fixed by rules of the Supreme Court.

3. The Clerk of the Supreme Court and the Clerk of the Superior Court shall be appointed by the Supreme Court for such terms and at such compensation as shall be provided by law.

Section VIII

1. a. On or before July 1, 1997:

(1) The State shall be required to pay for certain judicial and probation costs;

(2) All judicial employees and probation employees shall be employees of the State; and

(3) Any judicial fees and probation fees collected shall be paid to the State Treasury.

b. As used in this section:

(1) "Judicial facility costs" means any costs borne by the counties prior to July 1, 1993 with regard to the operation and maintenance of facilities used by the courts or judicial employees;

(2) "Probation facility costs" means any costs borne by the counties prior to July 1, 1993 with regard to the operation and maintenance of facilities used by probation employees;

(3) "Judicial costs" means the costs incurred by the county for funding the judicial system, including but not limited to the following costs: salaries, health benefits and pension payments of all judicial employees, juror fees and library material costs ,except that judicial costs shall not include costs incurred by employees of the surrogate's office or judicial facility costs;

(4) "Judicial employees" means any person employed by the county prior to July 1, 1993 to perform judicial functions, including but not limited to employees working for the courts, and the law library and employees of the sheriff's office who act as court aides, except that employees of the surrogate's office and probation employees shall not be construed to be judicial employees;

(5) "Judicial fees" means any fees or fines collected by the judiciary but shall not include sheriff's or surrogate's fees or municipal court fees or fines;

(6) "Judicial functions" means any duties and responsibilities performed in providing any services and direct support necessary for the effective operation of the judicial system;

(7) "Probation costs" means any costs incurred by the county for the operation of the county probation department, including but not limited to the costs of salaries, health benefits, and pension payments of probation employees but shall not include probation facility costs;

(8) "Probation employees" means any person employed by a county probation department prior to July 1,1993;

(9) "Probation fees" means any fees or fines collected in connection with the probation of any persons.

Section VIII added effective December 3, 1992.

Article XI

Section IV

1. Subsequent to the adoption of this Constitution the Governor shall nominate and appoint, with the advice and consent of the Senate, a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices of the new Supreme Court from among the persons then being the Chancellor, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the old Supreme Court, the Vice Chancellors and Circuit Court Judges. The remaining judicial officers enumerated and such Judges of the Court of Errors and Appeals as have been admitted to the practice of law in this State for at least ten years, and are in office on the adoption of the Constitution, shall constitute the Judges of the Superior Court. The Justices of the new Supreme Court and the Judges of the Superior Court so designated shall hold office each for the period of his term which remains unexpired at the time the Constitution is adopted; and if reappointed he shall hold office during good behavior. No Justice of the new Supreme Court or Judge of the Superior Court shall hold his office after attaining the age of seventy years, except, however, that such Justice or Judge may complete the period of his term which remains unexpired at the time the Constitution is adopted.

2. The Judges of the Courts of Common Pleas shall constitute the Judges of the County Courts, each for the period of his term which remains unexpired at the time the Judicial Article of this Constitution takes effect.

3. The Court of Errors and Appeals, the present Supreme Court, the Court of Chancery, the Prerogative Court and the Circuit Courts shall be abolished when the Judicial Article of this Constitution takes effect; and all their jurisdiction, functions, powers and duties shall be transferred to and divided between the new Supreme Court and the Superior Court according as jurisdiction is vested in each of them under this Constitution.

4. Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution and until otherwise provided by law, all courts now existing in this State, other than those abolished in paragraph 3 hereof, shall continue as if this Constitution had not been adopted, provided, however, that when the Judicial Article of this Constitution takes effect, the jurisdiction, powers and functions of the Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court, Court of Oyer and Terminer, Court of Quarter Sessions and Court of Special Sessions of each county, the judicial officers, clerks and employees thereof, and the causes pending therein and their files, shall be transferred to the County Court of the county. All statutory provisions relating to the county courts aforementioned of each county and to the Judge or Judges thereof shall apply to the new County Court of the county and the Judge or Judges thereof, unless otherwise provided by law. Until otherwise provided by law and except as aforestated, the judicial officers, surrogates and clerks of all courts now existing, other than those abolished in paragraph 3 hereof, and the employees of said officers, clerks, surrogates and courts shall continue in the exercise of their duties, as if this Constitution had not been adopted.

5. The Supreme Court shall make rules governing the administration and practice and procedure of the County Courts; and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall be the administrative head of these courts with power to assign any Judge thereof of any county to sit temporarily in the Superior Court or to sit temporarily without the county in a County Court.

6. The Advisory Masters appointed to hear matrimonial proceedings and in office on the adoption of this Constitution shall, each for the period of his term which remains unexpired at the time the Constitution is adopted, continue so to do as Advisory Masters to the Chancery Division of the Superior Court, unless otherwise provided by law.

7. All Special Masters in Chancery, Masters in Chancery, Supreme Court Commissioners and Supreme Court Examiners shall, until otherwise provided by rules of the Supreme Court, continue respectively as Special Masters, Masters, Commissioners and Examiners of the Superior Court, with appropriate similar functions and powers as if this Constitution had not been adopted.

8. When the Judicial Article of this Constitution takes effect:

(a) All causes and proceedings of whatever character pending in the Court of Errors and Appeals shall be transferred to the new Supreme Court;
(b) All causes and proceedings of whatever character pending on appeal or writ of error in the present Supreme Court and in the Prerogative Court and all pending causes involving the prerogative writs shall be transferred to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court;
(c) All causes and proceedings of whatever character pending in the Supreme Court other than those stated shall be transferred to the Superior Court;
(d) All causes and proceedings of whatever character pending in the Prerogative Court other than those stated shall be transferred to the Chancery Division of the Superior Court;
(e) All causes and proceedings of whatever character pending in all other courts which are abolished shall be transferred to the Superior Court.

For the purposes of this paragraph, paragraph 4 and paragraph 9, a cause shall be deemed to be pending notwithstanding that an adjudication has been entered therein, provided the time limited for review has not expired or the adjudication reserves to any party the right to apply for further relief.

9. The files of all causes pending in the Court of Errors and Appeals shall be delivered to the Clerk of the new Supreme Court; and the files of all causes pending in the present Supreme Court, the Court of Chancery and the Prerogative Court shall be delivered to the Clerk of the Superior Court. All other files, books, papers, records and documents and all property of the Court of Errors and Appeals, the present Supreme Court, the Prerogative Court, the Chancellor and the Court of Chancery, or in their custody, shall be disposed of as shall be provided by law.

10. Upon the taking effect of the Judicial Article of this Constitution, all the functions, powers and duties conferred by statute, rules or otherwise upon the Chancellor, the Ordinary, and the Justices and Judges of the courts abolished by this Constitution, to the extent that such functions, powers and duties are not inconsistent with this Constitution, shall be transferred to and may be exercised by Judges of the Superior Court until otherwise provided by law or rules of the new Supreme Court; excepting that such statutory powers not related to the Administration of justice as are then vested in any such judicial officers shall, after the Judicial Article of this Constitution takes effect and until otherwise provided by law, be transferred to and exercised by the Chief Justice of the new Supreme Court.

11. Upon the taking effect of the Judicial Article of this Constitution, the Clerk of the Supreme Court shall become the Clerk of the new Supreme Court and shall serve as such Clerk until the expiration of the term for which he was appointed as Clerk of the Supreme Court, and all employees of the Supreme Court as previously constituted, of the Clerk thereof and of the Chief Justice and the Justices thereof, of the Circuit Courts and the Judges thereof and of the Court of Errors and Appeals shall be transferred to appropriate similar positions with similar compensation and civil service status under the Clerk of the new Supreme Court or the new Supreme Court, or the Clerk of the Superior Court or the Superior Court, which shall be provided by law.

12. Upon the taking effect of the Judicial Article of this Constitution, the Clerk in Chancery shall become the Clerk of the Superior Court and shall serve as such Clerk until the expiration of the term for which he was appointed as Clerk in Chancery, and all employees of the Clerk in Chancery, the Court of Chancery, the Chancellor and the several Vice Chancellors shall be transferred to appropriate similar positions with similar compensation and civil service status under the Clerk of the Superior Court or the Superior Court, which shall be provided by law.

13. Appropriations made by law for judicial expenditures during the fiscal year one thousand nine hundred and forty-eight, one thousand nine hundred and forty-nine may be transferred to similar objects and purposes required by the Judicial Article.

14. The Judicial Article of this Constitution shall take effect on the fifteenth day of September, one thousand nine hundred and forty-eight, except that the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall have the power to fill vacancies arising prior thereto in the new Supreme Court and the Superior Court; and except further that any provision of this Constitution which may require any act to be done prior thereto or in preparation therefor shall take effect immediately upon the adoption of this Constitution.

See also

External links

References

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