General Sessions Court is an independent "judicial office". By Tennessee constitution, the General Sessions Judges are elected by county-wide vote to eight (8) year terms. Tennessee Code Annotated Section 16-15-501 vests the court with all the jurisdiction and shall exercise the authority formerly conferred by law upon justices of the peace in all civil and criminal cases, suits and actions. The jurisdiction, power and authority of the court shall be coextensive with the county. In addition, the courts are vested with jurisdiction over probate, county court and juvenile matters. Judicial Commissioners issue criminal process and warrants as set forth by T.C.A. 40-1-111 and T.C.A. 40-5-102, with all the powers enumerated therein.
The General Sessions Court is the first court in which most criminal and civil cases originate.