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What you need to know about Chancery Court

By: Shawn Lowrey

Sometimes as an attorney we feel like translators from legalese to English, attempting to explain things to clients in ways that allow them to understand them, as opposed to the complicated ways that attorneys discuss cases.

However, there should be some amount of baseline knowledge, and considering that Chancery Court is the most likely place that most people will find themselves involved in truly meaningful litigation, a brief over view of it is helpful to every citizen.

To begin with, Chancery Court and Circuit Court are two halves of the same coin. Circuit Court is often how you see it portrayed on television, with a jury, and it deals with criminal matters.

The Mississippi Chancery Courts are trial courts that have jurisdiction over disputes regarding equity, domestic matters (including adoptions, custody disputes, and divorces), guardianships, juvenile cases, (in counties which do not have a County/Youth Court), sanity hearings, wills and estates, and challenges to the constitutionality of state laws. Land records are also filed with the Chancery Court clerk.

Ultimately, Chancery Court is called a court of equity or fairness. It delights to do complete justice and pierce through the shell of a case to ensure that justice is done.

Chancery judges (Chancellors) do not typically have a jury, and they sit as both the arbiters of the rules and the ultimate finder of fact. This means that, in effect, a Chancery Court judge has more power over their individual cases than Circuit Court judges.

There are 20 chancery court districts, with one to four Chancery Court judges per district. Chancellors are elected to four-year terms in non-partisan elections. The 10th  Chancery District encompasses Forrest County, Lamar County, Marion County, Perry County and Pearl River County. The current Chancery Judges for the 10th district are Rhea Sheldon, Ronald Doleac, Deborah J. Gambrell and Johnny Lee Williams.

Two of our current Chancery Judges are retiring, both Ronald Doleac and Johnny Lee Williams. Elections for their slots will be in November of 2018.

To learn more about Chancery Court, click here.

To learn more about Shawn Lowrey and his practice areas, click here.

Disclaimer: This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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