The Clerk of the Circuit, Civil Sessions and Juvenile Courts is an office required by Tennessee’s State Constitution. The Clerk is elected by the people of Knox County every four years.
The Clerk has the responsibility to perform all administrative functions to support the judges of the courts, keep all documents and records pertaining to the courts, collect fees owed to Knox County through the courts, maintain record books and cases, and the dockets for each of the courts.
The Clerk’s office for the Juvenile Court processes cases for court hearings, prepares arraignment notices, summons and process and subpoenas. The Clerk’s office for the Juvenile Court gives official notice to the child, parents, custodians, witnesses and any other interested parties connected with the child’s case, including legal publications for newspapers.
The Circuit Court is a court of general jurisdiction with judges in Knox County presiding over three divisions. There are approximately 2,400 cases filed annually with the Circuit Court. Filings include appeals from lower courts, as well as suits involving auto accidents, business disputes, condemnations, joint petitions for minor settlements, personal injury, and workers compensation, to name but a few.
The deputy-clerks of the Circuit Court are responsible for accepting the filing of lawsuits; after accepting filings, our clerks create case files, and monitor those new cases by accepting additional pleadings and filings, scheduling cases for motions, hearings, and trials as well as processing and maintaining all orders of the court.
The Civil Sessions Court, or the “small claims” court, is the court most recognized by citizens. The Civil Sessions Court has a broad range of jurisdiction and is divided into five divisions in Knox County. Each division has its own judge, all of whom are elected by the people to eight-year terms. The Civil Sessions Court is not a “court of record”, meaning it provides no written transcript of proceedings, and its decisions are subject to an appeal to a higher court. The Civil Sessions Court has jurisdiction in matters valued under $25,000, which include auto accidents, business disputes, condemnations, joint petition for minor settlement, personal injury, and workers compensation.
The Civil Sessions Court does not hear criminal matters.
The Clerk’s office is funded through Knox County’s legislative body, the County Commission, although additional revenue is generated through the collection of fees for service. The actual fee for any service is set by the Tennessee General Assembly under state law.