Hawaii Map whole

Aloha! Welcome to the fascinating world of the Hawaii judiciary system. A vital cog in the democratic machinery, the judiciary upholds justice, ensures the rule of law, and protects the rights of all residents. Let’s dive in to explore its unique structure, history, and the challenges it faces.

Brief History of the Judiciary System in Hawaii

Our journey starts with a trip back in time. The roots of Hawaii’s judiciary system can be traced back to the Kingdom of Hawaii era. As Hawaii transitioned from a monarchy to a territory and finally a U.S. state, the judiciary evolved to suit the changing socio-political landscape. Today, it stands as a testament to the region’s rich history and its commitment to justice.

Structure of the Hawaii Judiciary System

The Hawaii Judiciary system, similar to other states, is a multi-tiered structure. But what sets it apart? Let’s find out!

The Supreme Court of Hawaii

Perched at the top is the Supreme Court of Hawaii, the highest state court.

Role and Responsibilities

The Supreme Court shoulders a heavy load. It hears appeals, regulates the legal profession in Hawaii, and rules on questions of constitutional law, among other duties.

Notable Justices

Many eminent justices have graced the Supreme Court. For instance, Justice Simeon R. Acoba Jr., known for his dedication to civil rights, left a lasting legacy.

Intermediate Court of Appeals

Next in line is the Intermediate Court of Appeals, the ‘middle child’ of the Hawaii judiciary system.

Role and Responsibilities

This court hears appeals from lower courts, providing an additional level of scrutiny to ensure justice.

Notable Judges

Notable judges like Alexa D.M. Fujise have served here, contributing to the court’s reputation for fairness and integrity.

Circuit Courts

The base level consists of Circuit Courts, the workhorses of the judiciary.

Role and Responsibilities

Circuit Courts handle a variety of cases, from civil to criminal, family to probate, and more.

Notable Judges

Many Circuit Court judges have made their mark. Judge Derrick H.M. Chan, for instance, is known for his meticulous judgment.

Significant Hawaii Court Cases

Over the years, Hawaii courts have seen landmark cases, like the Baehr v. Lewin case, which challenged the norms and propelled the state to the forefront of discussions on marriage equality.

Current Challenges and Reforms in the Hawaii Judiciary System

Like any system, the Hawaii judiciary faces its share of challenges. Balancing the rights of native Hawaiians with broader U.S. law, managing resources in a geographically fragmented state, and staying abreast with technology are just a few. However, it continually evolves, with reforms like digital filings, greater transparency, and judicial diversity, to meet these challenges head-on.


The Hawaii judiciary system, with its deep-rooted history and multi-tiered structure, continues to serve as the cornerstone of justice in the Aloha State. It’s a dynamic entity that adapts to the times, all while upholding the principles of fairness, equity, and accountability.


  1. What is the structure of the Hawaii judiciary system? The Hawaii judiciary system consists of the Supreme Court, Intermediate Court of Appeals, and Circuit Courts.
  2. What types of cases do the Circuit Courts handle? Circuit Courts handle a variety of cases, including civil, criminal, family, and probate cases.
  3. What are some notable cases heard by Hawaii courts? One notable case is Baehr v. Lewin, which was a significant case in the fight for marriage equality.
  4. Who are some notable justices in the Hawaii Supreme Court? One notable justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court was Justice Simeon R. Acoba Jr., known for his dedication to civil rights.
  5. What challenges does the Hawaii judiciary system face? Some challenges include balancing the rights of native Hawaiians with broader U.S. law, managing resources in a geographically fragmented state, and keeping up with technology.
Circuit court
District court
Counties in Hawaii

Counties in Hawaii


Circuit court

Circuit Courts in Hawaii


Circuit court

Here are all of the Circuit courts located in the Hawaii Estate.

O’ahu First Circuit Court
Maui Second Circuit Court
Hawai’i Third Circuit Court
Kaua’i Fifth Circuit Court

District Courts in Hawaii


District Courts

Detail of every District Court is here.

O’ahu First District Court
Maui Second District Court
Hawai’i Third District Court
Kaua’i Fifth District Court