Summary Review of Court Systems -
Structure of Civil Courts
Alaska’s civil court system is comprised of a district court, a superior court, and a supreme court as detailed in Title 22 of the Alaska Statutes (AS). There are four judicial districts, each having a district court and a superior court. See AS 22.10.010; 22.15.010. An appeal as a matter of right is heard by the superior court for cases commenced in the district court, and by the supreme court for cases commenced in the superior court. See AS 22.05.010.
Basis of Jurisdiction
The superior court is the trial court of general jurisdiction, with original jurisdiction in all civil matters. See AS 22.10.020. The superior court also has appellate jurisdiction over matters commenced in the district court and administrative agency decisions. Id.
The district court has concurrent jurisdiction, generally consisting of cases involving monetary damages that do not exceed $100,000. See AS 22.15.030. The district court does not have jurisdiction over most equitable matters or matters involving title to real property. See AS 22.15.050. Cases involving a claim for relief that does not exceed $10,000 are ordinarily heard as small claims by the district court. See AS 22.15.040. The district court makes available alternative dispute resolution programs to small claim litigants. Id.
The supreme court has final appellate jurisdiction in all actions and proceedings. See AS 22.05.010. Appeal as a matter of right is available for superior court decisions including appeals from administrative agencies. Id. The supreme court also has discretion to accept direct review of a decision by the district court. Id.
Alaska has no commercial courts.
Alaska does not have mandatory mediation. In federal court, a judge has discretion to order parties to participate in mediation pursuant to Local Civil Rule 16.2.
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