Clerks of Court

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The Tennessee Constitution in Article VI places the judicial power of the state in one supreme court and in such circuit, chancery and other inferior courts as the legislature creates. The Constitution further provides in Article VI, Section 13, that chancellors appoint the clerk and master for a six-year term and that clerks of other inferior courts are elected for a four-year term. The Tennessee Constitution provides that the clerks of the inferior courts may be chosen on a district or county basis. Many counties have only the circuit court clerk and clerk and master to perform clerking duties for all of the courts held in the county, but others have additional court clerks established by private act or charter, such as general sessions court clerk or juvenile court clerk. In any county in which a separate general sessions clerk is created by private act, the clerk serves in accordance with the private act. T.C.A. § 16-15-301. In counties without a separate general sessions clerk, the circuit clerk usually serves as the general sessions court clerk. T.C.A. § 16-15-301. In most counties, the circuit court has both civil and criminal jurisdiction and uses only one clerk, but some populous counties have a separate criminal court and elected criminal court clerk.