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Overview of the Mississippi Court System

With seven different courts, the Mississippi judicial system can confuse anyone, but it can help to think of the judicial system as a tiered structure with three different types of courts: courts of limited jurisdiction, courts of general jurisdiction and appellate courts. Alternatively, one can remember them as limited jurisdiction, general jurisdiction and appellate in nature.

The limited jurisdiction courts in Mississippi are the justice and municipal courts. The latter courts handle traffic infractions and petty criminal violations while the justice courts primarily handle small civil cases. The other limited jurisdiction courts are known as the county courts, which handle mid-level civil cases, juvenile cases and misdemeanor criminal cases on a limited basis in addition to hearing appeals from the justice and municipal courts.

The general jurisdiction courts consist of the chancery courts, which handle probate/estate matters, domestic relations, land disputes and mental health issues. Also under the general jurisdiction heading are the circuit courts, which hear all major civil cases as well as all criminal cases. They have original jurisdiction over felonies and civil trials over a certain financial threshold and can hear appeals from the limited jurisdiction courts.

The appellate courts consist of the Court of Appeals and the Mississippi Supreme Court. Cases from the chancery and circuit courts are appealed to the Supreme Court, which then assigns cases to the Court of Appeals. That court's decision may then be appealed again to the Supreme Court, which makes the final state decision on the matter.

Mississippi Attorneys and Lawyers

When faced with a legal issue, contacting an experienced attorney is always the best bet. At LawInfo you can search for a skilled, Lead Counsel Rated Mississippi attorney by location and by practice area. We have Mississippi attorneys who dedicate their practice to specific areas of the law, so you will not only find an attorney, but an attorney who is knowledgeable to help you with your particular legal issue.

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Mississippi Legal Forms

LawInfo offers free Mississippi legal forms and documents to help resolve many of your issues on your own. Whether you need a power of attorney or you want to complete your will, we have you covered. You can click on our most popular forms located in the right column of this page. A user account is required to use the service, but it’s completely free.

Landlord/tenant liabilities can plague property owners who decide to rent without using a formal Mississippi Residential Lease Agreement. You can find Mississippi Residential Lease Agreement for free on LawInfo that will create legally binding contracts so you are protected in the event of a bad tenant or any other problem. Renting property can be a smart financial idea, but you have to make sure that legal safeguards are in place to protect you and your real estate assets, or it may end up being more costly than you wanted.

Filing a Last Will and Testament can protect your possessions and your family in the event of an unforeseen accident. While most people associate a last will with a deathbed, the truth is that it is an essential part of anyone's planning for an uncertain future. A last will can ensure that your belongings pass to your family members according to your wishes rather than according to the wishes of a probate court. LawInfo provides free Last Will and Testament documents.

Power of Attorney documents can help you plan for an uncertain future as well. If you ever become unable to make decisions for yourself due to being unconscious or incapacitated in some way, a Power of Attorney determines who is allowed to make those decisions on your behalf. By filling out a free Power of Attorney from LawInfo, you make it easy for your loved ones to expedite important legal, financial and medical decisions when they know what you want.

Starting a Mississippi Business

Most first-time Mississippi entrepreneurs are excited to begin turning their dreams into reality. While being your own boss and doing something you love is great, you need to be aware of some of the risks and proceed with caution. Visit the Mississippi Small Business Development Center for vital information that every first-time business owner should know, and when you feel confident, write out your business plan and workshop it with close friends until you feel good about it.

When you're satisfied with your business plan, you need to choose a business structure that best fits it. This will depend on the tax, liability and regulatory issues the business structure contains. If you'd rather not worry about regulations, high taxes and extensive documentation, a sole proprietorship may be the way to go. A corporate structure may be for you if you'd rather protect your own personal finances and don't mind higher taxes or more paperwork.

Mississippi Business Statistics

Small businesses employ 49.5 percent of the private-sector employees in Mississippi. The unemployment rate hovered around 9 percent in the first half of 2013, but it is on a downtrend.

Mississippi is home to more than 240,000 small businesses, accounting for 96.5 percent of employers. While the unemployment rate was higher than the national average, the state's GDP grew by 2.4 percent in 2011, representing strong small business opportunities in the state. There are no Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Mississippi.