Superior Court's History
Court's heritage can be traced back more than 345 years to December 6, 1669
when John Binckson and two others were tried for treason for leading an
insurrection against colonists loyal to England in favor of the King of
|Historic New Castle County Courthouse
The red sash worn by High Courts of that time has been worn in the 21st century by the judges
on ceremonial occasions. The law courts, which represent today's Superior
Court jurisdiction, go back as far as 1831.
They included Superior Court, which heard civil matters, the Court
of General Sessions, which heard criminal matters, and the Court
of Oyer and Terminer, which heard capital cases and consisted of all
four law judges for the other two courts.
In 1951, the Court of Oyer and Terminer and the Court of General
Sessions were abolished and their jurisdictions were combined in today's
The court's presiding judge was renamed president judge. There were five
Superior Court judges in 1951; there are nineteen today. Sessions of Superior
Court are held in each of the three counties at the county seat.
The Honorable E. Norman Veasey, former Chief Justice of Delaware, has described
the Superior Court this way in his article, "The Drama of Judicial
Branch Change in this Century", Delaware Lawyer, Vol. 17, No.
4, Winter 1999/2000.
"The Superior Court has always been the bellwether court of general
jurisdiction in Delaware. Recent management innovations such as electronic
filing, drug court, case management technology, arbitration, mediation,
summary procedures, videoconferencing, jury reform and other advances have
only added to its nationwide reputation for excellence.
Criminal cases, including death cases, crowd its docket, complicate its
ability to move cases expeditiously and present the judges of that court
with vexing challenges of meeting speedy trial and disposition guidelines
consistent with quality adjudication.
The Court's jurisprudence and case management in civil litigation is exemplary,
with particular emphasis in the late 1980s and 1990s in the businesslike
handling of complex, national insurance coverage litigation, during which
period the Court became a national innovator in electronic filing."
View a complete listing of all judges at: Superior
Court Judges from 1831.
For more information on the history of the Superior Court: The
Superior Court by the Honorable Henry duPont Ridgely, the Honorable
Clarence Taylor, the Honorable Richard R. Cooch, F. Alton Tybout, Esq. and
Kevin J. O'Connell, Esq.
Superior Court's heritage can be traced back more than 345 years to
December 6, 1669.
The red sash worn by the High Courts in the 17th century has been worn in the 21st century by the judges on ceremonial occasions.
A court designated as a Superior Court first appeared in the Constitution of 1831.
Bailiffs once carried tipstaffs. One side of the pointed tip was white, to represent the presumption of innocence. The other side was red to represent a finding of guilt. Upon conviction, the tipstaff was turned so that the red side faced forward in the courtroom and while the defendant was being escorted to and from the courtroom.
Jurisdiction over capital cases was vested in the Court of Oyer and Terminer until 1951 when it was transferred to the Superior Court
Superior Court rated #1 overall for the 9th consecutive year in the most recent U.S. Chamber Legal Institute for Legal Reform State Liability Systems Study. View Report >>
On October 6, 2003, Superior Court was the first state court in the nation to require statewide electronic filing of certain categories of civil cases.
On July 28, 2000, Superior Court was the first state court to adopt a rule allowing briefs and appendices to be filed on CD-ROM.
In 1999, Superior Court began to use its Wilmington, Delaware eCourtroom, purported to be the nation's first actively used eCourtroom.
In 1999, Superior Court began to use its Automated Sentencing Order Program. The application issues sentence orders almost simultaneously with judge's pronouncement.
Begun in 1994, Superior Court had the first statewide Drug Court in the nation.
In 1991, Superior Court created CLAD the first electronic docketing & filing system for civil cases in the U.S.