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Below are the primary resources for justice court law and procedure, the TJCTC Deskbooks. These deskbooks contain user-friendly features such as clickable tables of contents, and are designed to be in clear language instead of legalese. They also contain links to many updated flowcharts and other resources. We hope that you find them very useful!

Note: Most new laws from the 87th Texas Legislature go into effect September 1, 2021. TJCTC is currently updating its resources and will be posting them over the next several weeks. Deskbooks with revision dates on or after September 2021 are current through the 87th Regular Session.

Please see Texas Statutes Online and Texas Legislature Online for updated information during this transition period. Instructions on using those sites is available here

Note: The deskbooks do not contain information related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, please see our coronavirus page for that information.

Administrative Proceedings Deskbook

Revised May 2020. This deskbook covers administrative proceedings including dangerous dogs, cruelly treated animals, occupational driver's licenses, tow hearings, and more.

Click here to download a copy

Civil Deskbook

Revised August 2020. This deskbook covers procedure in civil cases in justice court, including small claims, debt claims, and deed restriction cases. 

Click here to download a copy.


Criminal Deskbook 

Revised April 2020. This deskbook covers procedure in justice court criminal cases. Information on magistration, juvenile cases, and fines, fees, and costs is found in separate deskbooks on those topics.

Click here to download a copy. 

Evictions Deskbook 

Revised June 2020. This deskbook covers procedure in eviction cases, as well as other landlord-tenant issues such as security deposits, repair and remedy cases, and writs of restoration, retrieval, and re-entry.

Click here to download a copy.

Fines, Fees, and Costs Deskbook

Revised October 2020. This deskbook covers fines and costs in criminal cases, as well as filing fees and other fees and costs in civil cases. 

Click here to download a copy. 

Inquests Deskbook 

Revised September 2021. This deskbook covers procedure and resources for conducting inquests, including ordering autopsies and formal inquest hearings.

Click here to download a copy.

Juvenile Deskbook

Revised May 2020. This deskbook includes information on truancy, juvenile criminal cases, juvenile case records, juvenile detention and much more.

Click here to download a copy

Magistration Deskbook 

Revised May 2020. This deskbook covers information on magistrate duties, such as Art. 15.17 hearings, mental health hearings, setting bail and bond coditions, as well as issuing search, arrest, and emergency detention warrants, peace bonds and EPOs. 

Click here to download a copy

Officeholding and Ethics Deskbook 

Revised June 2020. This deskbook contains information on lots of topics related to holding office as a justice of the peace, including ethics, elections, contempt, weddings, liability, and more!

Click here to download a copy.

Recordkeeping & Reporting Deskbook 

Created September 2020. This deskbook covers information on maintaining justice court records, responding to requests by the public to inspect records, and all of the required reports that justice courts must make to DPS, OCA, and others.

Click here to download a copy.

Trial Notebook 

Revised May 2020. This invaluable resource contains information on evidence and trial procedure in justice court, including scripts for judges to use for all trials, civil or criminal, bench or jury. 

Click here to download a copy.

Civil Process Field Guide

Revised August 2018. This guide is an indisposable in-the-field resource for constables and deputies, covering information on citations, writs, and other process.

Click here to download a copy. 

Practical Guide to Writs of Execution

Created October 2020. This guide explains how a constable works a writ of execution from start to finish, including some common pitfalls and tricky issues that might arise.  

Click here to download a copy.