Circuit Courts Overview

There are 46 judicial circuits in Missouri. The state’s circuit courts have several divisions in which cases are managed by circuit judges, associate circuit judges, probate judges, municipal judges and a variety of commissioners.

All Missouri judges are accountable to the voters, although their initial selection process varies. In most counties, circuit judges are elected by popular vote, but in certain metropolitan counties, they are selected pursuant to the merit-based Non-Partisan Court Plan. The Non-Partisan Court Plan governs selection and retention of judges on the Supreme Court of Missouri, the Missouri Court of Appeals, and six circuit courts (Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in the Kansas City area; both the county and city of St. Louis; and Greene County in the Springfield area).