New York State has a unified court system presided over by the Chief Judge of the New York State Courts who is also the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court. New York Courts have elected judges and are divided between courts of original instance, trial courts, and appellate courts. New York’s trial courts are further divided into what are generally termed courts of limited original jurisdiction and courts of general jurisdiction. Courts of limited/original jurisdiction generally hear misdemeanor criminal cases and smaller civil cases. In New York State, courts of limited jurisdiction include the Civil Court of New York City and the Criminal Court of New York City. Outside of New York City, these courts include the District Courts, City Courts, Town and Village Courts. Courts of general jurisdiction include the County Courts and Supreme Courts. Specialized courts include the Family Courts which hear matters concerning children and families; the Surrogate Court which hears cases related to wills and estates; and the Court of Claims which has jurisdiction over lawsuits seeking money damages against the State of New York.