Last updated: November 1, 2013
Tennessee's state court system features four different trial courts in which a case may begin: (1) Circuit Courts, (2) Chancery Courts, (3) Criminal Courts, and (4) Probate Courts. Circuit Courts have the original authority to hear civil and criminal cases of any type. In Nashville, however, some authority has been shifted to other courts.
In addition, each county may create other courts to serve its individual needs. In District 20 (Nashville and Davidson County), the General Sessions Court (GSC) hears civil, criminal, traffic and ordinance violation cases. The civil suits may only involve up to $15,000 or $25,000 in alternative money judgments, or landlord-tenant disputes. The criminal proceedings are limited to preliminary hearings of all cases, and trials for which the possible penalty is less than a year. Nashville's GSC also features mental health court and treatment courts.
The region also has a number of judges and magistrates (attorneys with a judge’s delegated authority) serving in the Juvenile Court and Municipal Court. See Tennessee’s Judicial District Map for more information on judges, magistrates, and courts within District 20.
General Sessions: See Court Directory.
The Birch Building is home to the Davidson County Criminal Court and the Metropolitan General Sessions Court of Nashville-Davidson County. Visitors should park underground in the Public Square Parking facility across the street.
This is the same facility that houses the police department. It’s across the street from City Hall and Circuit Court. Park as you would if going to the Justice Birch Building (see above).
Visit the Circuit Court Clerk’s website for a parking map and directions to the courthouse. The court also posts answers to frequently asked questions relating to jury duty, marriage/divorce, and other more general subjects. Here is the Rutherford County Contact Directory, which may be handy for finding your specific courtroom.
The court recommends that you park in the garage on Second Avenue. Enter between Main Street and Church Street, by the flag poles.
Turn from N. Water Avenue onto Public Square. There are limited parking spots on the square, but several more on the surrounding streets.
You can park behind the Customs House at 8th Avenue and McGavock for a maximum of $10. If the lot is full, or you want to save a buck, look for a spot at the lot on 8th and Demonbreun; it has a $9 flat rate.