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Collin County is asking the Texas legislature for two more district courts

A framed American flag hangs above the courtroom at the Collin County Courthouse.
Azul Sordo
A framed American flag hangs above a courtroom at the Collin County Courthouse.

Collin County commissioners have voted to ask the Texas Legislature for two more district courts — one civil court and one family court.

The courts’ opening would be staggered if approved to offset costs. The civil court would open in September 2023, and the family court would launch the following year.

Frisco attorney Byron Henry said the county needs another civil court. He said civil cases are often complicated and take up lots of time and money.

“If you add a civil court, it not only tremendously alleviates the one civil court we already have, but it also drains civil cases from the other general jurisdiction courts that do family and criminal [cases],” Henry said.

Collin County district court judges asked the county commissioners to request more district courts at previous meetings. 366th District Court Judge Tom Nowak said the county needs more courts to meet the growing population’s needs.

“We’re going to need to expand,” Nowak said. “That's just a fact of life, and the fact that people are moving into Collin County.”

Nowak and the other district judges asked the commissioners to request two general jurisdiction courts, which can hear any type of case. Most of Collin County’s district courts are general jurisdiction. The judges said that allows them to swap cases and fill in for each other in an emergency.

Judge Andrea Bouressa from the 471st district court said the general district courts can still specialize by prioritizing specific types of cases. But Collin County Judge Chris Hill said that hasn’t happened yet.

“We have asked repeatedly over the years to the existing general jurisdiction courts, will you specialize, and they have said no,” Hill said.

The commissioners did leave room for flexibility in the request. The courts will “give preference to” the case type they specialize in, rather than “shall hear” those types of cases. This language would still allow the judges in the new courts and the general jurisdiction courts to fill in for each other in an emergency.

The district courts will be partially funded by the state. The county is expected to supplement the judges’ salaries and covering the operating costs of the courts.

Got a tip? Email Caroline Love at

Caroline Love is a Report For Americacorps member for KERA News.

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Caroline Love covers Collin County for KERA and is a member of the Report for America corps. Previously, Caroline covered daily news at Houston Public Media. She has a master's degree from Northwestern University with an emphasis on investigative social justice journalism. During grad school, she reported three feature stories for KERA. She also has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Texas Christian University and interned with KERA's Think in 2019.