First ceded by the Creek Indians in 1733, the area now known as Effingham County is comprised of the colonial British parishes of St. Mathew and St. Philip. Effingham County was named in honor of British nobleman and colonial advocate, Thomas Howard, the 3rd Earl of Effingham, and was one of Georgia’s original eight counties established in the Georgia State Constitution of 1777. Much of the early history of the Effingham Superior Court was not documented and therefore no records exist describing the state of the court while in the first two county seats of Tuckasee King and Elberton. When Ebenezer was designated county seat in 1797, the state legislature designated the private home of James Wilson to house the court but there is evidence to support that court was
held in an unauthorized courthouse built by Ebenezer city officials.
In 1799 at the behest of the General Assembly, a new courthouse was built in the new county seat of Springfield. Purportedly, a new courthouse was constructed in 1849 and then again in 1908. Today the Effingham Superior court is located in the new Effingham County Judicial Complex which was completed in 2007. The 1908 courthouse remains in use as the Office of the District Attorney of Effingham County.
The Superior Court is Effingham County’s general jurisdiction trial court. It has exclusive, constitutional authority over felony cases, divorce, equity and cases regarding title to land. The exclusive jurisdiction of this court also covers such matters as declaratory judgments, habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto and prohibition. The Superior Court corrects errors made by lower courts by issuing writs of certiorari; for some lower courts, the right to direct review by the Superior Court applies. Unlike most circuits, the Superior Courts of the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit also exercise Juvenile Court jurisdiction.