August 17, 2017

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Maine Judicial System

There is one federal district court in Maine, with court sessions held at Bangor and Portland. Appeals are taken to the First Circuit. There is also a United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine, again with offices in Bangor and Portland.

On the state court side, the highest court is the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The only trial courts in Maine (for both civil and criminal matters) are the Maine Superior Courts, which are located in each of Maine's sixteen counties (see Directory of Superior Courts). All Superior Courts have statewide jurisdiction.

There are also courts of "limited jurisdiction" known as District Courts and, within and under the jurisdiction of each county, Probate Courts (see Directory of District Courts). The Maine District Court system includes over 30 judges who hold court in 13 districts encompassing 31 locations throughout Maine.  District Courts hear both civil and criminal matters, without a jury.  (Only Superior Courts have jury trials).  Also included within the Maine District Court system are specialized courts such as the Family Division (matters involving children, such as divorce and parental rights) and Small Claims Courts (jurisdiction over money judgment claims up to $6,000).

Maine Attorney Resources

Maine State Bar Association
The Maine Bar Association offers services both to Maine lawyers and to non-lawyers who come into contact with lawyers and the legal system.  These include lawyer referral services and legal forms.  The Maine Bar Association is the focal point for Maine lawyers.

Maine Justice Foundation
Under the "I Need Help" tab, this site lists Maine state-wide entities offering lawyer services. These Maine attorneys typically assist low-income persons on various issues.  There are lawyers for civil matters, consumer law, criminal law, custody, disability, divorce, domestic violence,  elder law, immigration and landlord/tenant disputes.

Maine Disability Rights Center (DRC)
Find criteria for access to a DRC lawer, disability-related publications and other useful links.

Maine Legislature
The State of Maine Legislature website has info on a variety of topics, from bills and statutes to freedom of information laws, legal research resources and consumer information. Some of the info takes some navigation to find, e.g., consumer information is found under "Ask a Librarian" in the Popular Items drop-down menu.