The North Carolina Constitution establishes the Judicial Branch as an equal and distinctively separate branch of state government. The chief justice is the head of the Judicial Branch. Also known as the General Court of Justice, the Judicial Branch is a state-operated and state-funded unified court system. The General Court of Justice consists of three divisions: appellate, superior court, and district court.
More than 6,000 Judicial Branch employees statewide administer justice in courthouses in North Carolina’s 100 counties. The Judicial Branch budget for FY 2015 – 2016 is $484.9M, 92% of which is used to pay salaries and the remaining 8% is used for operations. The Judicial Branch receives only 2.23% of the overall State budget. More than 54% of the Judicial Branch’s appropriation is equivalent to revenues collected by the courts through imposed fines and fees that are deposited in the State General Fund.