Courts and Judicial Procedure

Organization, Powers, Jurisdiction and Operation of Courts


Subchapter I. Organization and Operation

The Superior Court shall be held:

(1) In New Castle County, at Wilmington;

(2) In Kent County, at Dover; and

(3) In Sussex County, at Georgetown.

Code 1852, § 1907; 16 Del. Laws, c. 133, § 5; Code 1915, § 3683; Code 1935, § 4235; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 501.;

The designation and the duration of the terms of the Superior Court in and for each county, and the nature of the proceedings to be conducted at each such term, shall be determined by the Superior Court and shall be announced by rule of court, duly adopted and promulgated pursuant to the authority vested in the Superior Court by the provisions of § 561 of this title and § 5121 of Title 11, provided that not less than 4 terms of Court a year shall be established in each county of the State.

Code 1852, § 1911; 16 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 1; 17 Del. Laws, c. 214; 24 Del. Laws, c. 236; 25 Del. Laws, c. 227; 26 Del. Laws, c. 261; Code 1915, § 3684; Code 1935, § 4236; 48 Del. Laws, c. 223; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 502; 50 Del. Laws, c. 53, § 1.;

The President Judge and each Judge of the Superior Court shall receive such compensation as shall be provided by law.

Code 1852, § 467; 26 Del. Laws, c. 58; Code 1915, § 395; 30 Del. Laws, c. 44; 37 Del. Laws, c. 41; Code 1935, § 369; 46 Del. Laws, c. 248; 47 Del. Laws, c. 200; 48 Del. Laws, c. 260; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 503; 52 Del. Laws, c. 113, § 3; 55 Del. Laws, c. 403, § 3; 57 Del. Laws, c. 675, § 3; 59 Del. Laws, c. 472, § 3; 62 Del. Laws, c. 12, § 3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 213, § 20.;

All necessary expenses connected with the sitting of the Superior Court in any county, shall, upon approval thereof by a Judge of the Court, be paid by the State Treasurer.

The State Treasurer shall pay to each county out of funds regularly appropriated for operation of the Superior Court rent based upon the cost of servicing and maintenance and carrying charges applicable to the space occupied by the Superior Court, its Judges, officers, employees and facilities, in such amounts as shall be fixed annually by agreement between the State Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Levy Court or County Executive of each county; provided that if agreement cannot be reached, final determination of such amounts shall be made by a panel of 3: 1 member to be designated by the State Director of the Office of Management and Budget, 1 member to be designated by the Levy Court or County Executive, and 1 member to be selected by the other 2 members.

19 Del. Laws, c. 254; 21 Del. Laws, c. 298, § 1; Code 1915, § 3801; Code 1935, § 4313; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 504; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 32C; 57 Del. Laws, c. 228, §§ 11-5, 11-43; 75 Del. Laws, c. 88, § 21(5).;

Repealed by 60 Del. Laws, c. 225, § 1.;

The Superior Court may deposit, in the name of the Court in any savings bank of this State, or invest in the name of the State in the funded debt of this State or of the United States, or upon bond or mortgage, or both, any money paid into the Court when the person entitled to the same is a nonresident of this State, unknown or incompetent to receive the same, or when for any sufficient cause it is impossible or improper to pay the same to the party interested therein.

The money so deposited or invested may be called in, collected, redeposited, reinvested or paid to the parties entitled to the same, as the Court from time to time directs. Costs incurred under this section shall be payable out of the fund.

16 Del. Laws, c. 526; Code 1915, § 2733; Code 1935, § 4283; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 506.;

The Superior Court may from time to time purchase for the Court such furniture, equipment, stationery and other supplies as may be requisite for the proper operation of the courtrooms, judicial chambers and other quarters used or occupied by the Judges, court officers and employees.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 507; 50 Del. Laws, c. 67, § 9.;

The payment of the compensation of all persons appointed or employed by the Court under the provisions of this chapter, and the payment for supplies, equipment and other necessary expenses of the Court, including the traveling expenses of the Judges and the court reporters, shall be made by the State Treasurer out of funds regularly appropriated for the operation of the Superior Court.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 508; 50 Del. Laws, c. 67, § 9; 57 Del. Laws, c. 228, § 11-7.;

There shall be at least 14 judges and no more than 16 judges in addition to the President Judge and the 4 judges specifically required by article IV, § 2 of the Delaware Constitution.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 509; 53 Del. Laws, c. 5, § 2; 55 Del. Laws, c. 309, § 1; 58 Del. Laws, c. 449; 65 Del. Laws, c. 51, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 375, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 117, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 363, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 213, §§ 21-23; 77 Del. Laws, c. 327, § 51.;

Repealed by 71 Del. Laws, c. 176, § 1, effective May 1, 1998.;

(a) The Governor may appoint, with the consent of a majority of all members elected to the Senate, suitable persons to act as Commissioners of the Superior Court, all of whom shall hold office for a term of 4 years. Vacancies in office shall be filled for a term of 4 years by the Governor, with the consent of a majority of all members elected to the Senate. Upon second and subsequent appointments and confirmations, a Commissioner of the Superior Court shall hold office for a term of 6 years. Appointees shall be residents of the State, shall be duly admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of this State, and shall not engage in the practice of law nor any business, occupation, or employment inconsistent with the expeditious, proper and impartial performance of their duties as judicial officers. The number of Commissioners from 1 major political party shall not exceed the number of Commissioners from another major political party by more than 1.

(b) Individuals appointed as Commissioners under this section shall take the oath or affirmation prescribed by article XIV, § 1 of the Delaware Constitution before they enter upon the duties of their office.

(c) The salaries of Commissioners shall be part of the annual budget of the Superior Court. The salary of a Commissioner shall not be reduced during the term being served below the salary fixed at the beginning of that term.

69 Del. Laws, c. 420, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 1.;

(a) Each Commissioner serving under this chapter shall have:

(1) All powers and duties conferred or imposed upon Commissioners by law or by the Rules of Criminal and Civil Procedure for the Superior Court;

(2) The power to administer oaths and affirmations, issue orders pursuant to Chapter 21 of Title 11 concerning release or detention of persons pending trial, and take acknowledgements, affidavits and depositions;

(3) The power to accept pleas of not guilty to any offense within the jurisdiction of the Superior Court and to appoint counsel to represent indigent defendants;

(4) The power to accept a plea of guilty to a misdemeanor or violation and, with the consent of the parties, to enter a sentence thereon.

(b) Commissioners may be designated to perform the following with the approval of the President Judge or his or her designee:

(1)a. A judge may designate a Commissioner to hear and determine any pretrial matter pending before the Court, except a motion for judgment on the pleadings, for summary judgment, to dismiss or quash an indictment or information made by the defendant, to suppress evidence in a criminal case, to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and to involuntarily dismiss an action. A judge of the Court may reconsider any pretrial matter under this paragraph (b)(1)a. where it has been shown that the Commissioner's order is based upon findings of fact that are clearly erroneous, or is contrary to law or an abuse of discretion.

b. A judge may also designate a Commissioner to conduct hearings, including evidentiary hearings, and to submit to a judge of the Court proposed findings of fact and recommendations for the disposition, by a judge of the Court, of any motion excepted in paragraph (b)(1)a. of this section or of applications for postconviction relief made by individuals convicted of criminal offenses.

c. The Commissioner shall file proposed findings and recommendations under paragraph (b)(1)b. of this section with the Court and shall mail copies forthwith to all parties.

d. Within 10 days after being served with a copy of proposed findings and recommendations under paragraph (b)(1)b. of this section any party may serve and file written objections to such proposed findings and recommendations as provided by rules of Court. A judge of the Court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made. A judge of the Court may accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the Commissioner. The judge may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the Commissioner with instructions.

(2) A judge may also designate a Commissioner to serve as a special master or master pro hac vice pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Rules of Civil Procedure for the Superior Court.

(3) A Commissioner may be assigned such additional duties by the President Judge, including assignment to the Court of Common Pleas upon designation by the Chief Justice, as are not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the State. A Commissioner designated to sit in the Court of Common Pleas may exercise in that court the powers and duties set forth in paragraphs (a)(2), (4) and (b)(1) of this section.

69 Del. Laws, c. 420, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) The President Judge, with the approval of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, may designate a retired Commissioner to serve temporarily in the Superior Court if all of the following apply:

(1) The retired Commissioner was serving in good standing as a Commissioner at the time of retirement.

(2) The retired Commissioner assents to such designation.

(3) The retired Commissioner is not involved or employed in any position which would create a conflict of interest with the position of Commissioner, including the private practice of law, holding of any state office, or employment by the State in any capacity.

(b)(1) The Superior Court shall compensate a retired Commissioner who accepts an active duty designation on a per diem basis on the formula representing 1/260 of the annual salary for a Commissioner. The per diem pay for a retired Commissioner may not exceed the maximum per diem pay for retired judges as provided in § 5610(b) of Title 29 and the total annual compensation of a retired Commissioner may not equal or exceed the current annual salary for a Commissioner.

(2) The Superior Court shall reimburse a retired Commissioner who accepts an active duty designation for travel necessarily incurred for the performance of such active duty. The President Judge must approve travel by a retired Commissioner who accepts an active duty designation before reimbursement is permitted.

(c) The Superior Court shall make expenditures for work performed under this section from funds appropriated for this purpose, or from other court funds approved to be expended for this purpose.

80 Del. Laws, c. 243, § 1.;