The Circuit Court of South Carolina is divided into a civil court (Court of Common Please) and a criminal court ( Court of General Sessions). Together, Charleston and Berkeley Counties form the Ninth Judicial Circuit of the state’s sixteen circuits. Forty-nine Circuit judges, ten retired-active and one Chief Justice retired-active rotate among the sixteen circuits. The judges are elected by the General Assembly to six-year terms and the state government pays their salaries.
The uniform statewide Family Court System was established by statute in 1976 and follows the territorial boundaries of the sixteen judicial circuits. The fifty-six Family Court judges and nine retired-active rotate among the sixteen circuits. Family Court judges are elected to six-year terms by the General Assembly and the state government pays their salaries.