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Judicial Branch » Introduction

Kansas state government is modeled on the federal system, with three branches of government—legislative, executive and judicial. The Kansas Constitution outlines the duties of the three branches of state government to ensure one branch does not overstep its authority. Through a system of separation of powers or “checks and balances,” each of these branches has some authority to act on its own, some authority to regulate the other two branches, and some of its own authority, in turn, is regulated by the other branches.

The legislative branch creates the laws that govern the citizens of Kansas, the executive branch manages the day-to-day administrative duties of running state government by executing its laws, and the judicial branch interprets and applies the laws passed by the Kansas Legislature.

There are several different levels of courts in Kansas to handle the various kinds of cases. The state’s judicial system is headed by the Kansas Supreme Court with a chief justice and six justices. The other courts are the Kansas Court of Appeals, with a chief judge and 13 judges, and 31 district courts. Each judicial district has district judges and district magistrate judges, as prescribed by law. Local municipal courts operate with limited jurisdiction in Kansas cities.

This chapter presents an overview of the history, structure and responsibilities of the judicial branch of Kansas state government.

Justice image
Statue of Justice located in the lobby of the Kansas Judicial Center
Photo by Todd Caywood