Inspired by Law & Order: "Court - Part 29"? "Family Court - Part 12"?

Law & Order and its offspring have those great title cards with the dong dong and the date, so you get a feel for time passing as the case progresses along.

When the setting is a courtroom, often those title cards will say things like “Court - Part 29” or “Family Court - Part 12.”

What does that mean?

IANAL, but I know what it means now.

It’s how the the New York State Supreme Court (which is, actually, the trial court) is administratively divided–generally, each part is staffed by one judge. I don’t think it’s a permanent position–that judges can be moved between parts fairly easily.

I’d be interested in its historical origin–anyone know that?

To quote myself from a previous post:

One bit of New York court terminology that you may hear (particularly if you are a Law and Order watcher) is a “Part”, as in “Supreme Court, Part 36, Hon. John Doe” on the bottom of the screen. First, in New York, the Supreme Court is the trial court of general jurisdiction where most non-minor matters, including felony trials, are heard. The Supreme Court (along with the other courts) is divided into “parts”, and essentially (with some exceptions) each part is a single judge. If something is assigned to Part 36, it means it is assigned to Judge Doe, and will be heard in Judge Doe’s courtroom. Administratively, when judicial personnel change (retirements, promotions, transfers, new elections/appointments, etc.) a new judge might be assigned to an existing part without having to individually reassign the caseload. The new judge might inherit the old judge’s courtroom, or the part with the new judge might move to a different courtroom. In the lower courts, it is fairly common for judges to be reassigned and relocated somewhat regularly, leaving their parts, courtrooms and dockets behind. In the Supreme Court, a judge may keep his or her part designation and courtroom for years or decades.

Thanks for this thread … and thanks for the answers. I had always wondered this, too, but never made a post about it. Thanks!

Thanks whorfin and Billdo, and you’re welcome Serenata67!