Watchworthy

The Best Courtroom Shows 

Ranker TV
Updated May 12, 2020 2.7k votes 742 voters 23.7k views 54 items

It makes sense that television loves the courtroom. It's a natural setting for drama, with real-life stakes and gripping interactions. But which of these shows is the very best is a matter of opinion. Some good courtroom reality shows focus on specific areas of the law, while other popular court TV shows address a variety of subjects. Many of the most entertaining courtroom shows have been airing for decades – perhaps paving the way for the future reality entertainment boom.

What series will you find on this list of the best courtroom shows? When it comes to entertaining courtroom drama, it doesn't get much better than The People's Court. First premiering in 1981 with original judge Joseph Wapner, this hit series handles small claims cases between neighbors, family members, and strangers. Divorce Court is another good courtroom series that airs on television. Presided over by Judy Sheindlin, Judge Judy boasts the longest lasting individual production life of any court show. Other good programs featured on this roundup of the top courtroom shows include Judge Mathis, Kids Court, and Moral Court.

Which court show deserves the top spot on this list? That's up to you to decide. Give your favorites a thumbs up to move them towards number one, and add any notable series that are missing.

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list ordered by
1
Judge Judy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Judy Sheindlin, Petri Hawkins-Byrd, Jerry Bishop

Premiered: 1996

Judge Judy is an American arbitration-based reality court show presided over by retired Manhattan Family Court Judge Judith Sheindlin. The show features Sheindlin adjudicating real-life small ...more
2
The People's Court is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Davy Jones, Ed Koch, Harvey Levin

Premiered: 1981

The People's Court is an American arbitration-based reality court show currently presided over by retired Florida State Circuit Court Judge Marilyn Milian. Milian, the show's longest-reigning ...more
3
Judge Mathis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Greg Mathis

Premiered: 1999

Judge Mathis is a long-running syndicated arbitration-based reality court show presided over by retired Superior Court Judge of Michigan's 36th District Court, Greg Mathis. The syndicated series ...more
4
Judge Faith is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Judge Faith Faith Jenkins

Premiered: 2014

5
Divorce Court is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Susan Olsen, Lynn Toler, Mablean Ephriam

Premiered: 1957

Divorce Court is an American nontraditional court show that revolves around settling the disputes of couples going through divorces. The current edition of Divorce Court premiered in September ...more
6
Judge Hatchett is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Judge Hatchett Glenda Hatchett

Premiered: 2000

Judge Hatchett is an American arbitration-based reality court show, produced and distributed by Sony Pictures Television. The series premiered on September 4, 2000 and ran for nine seasons until ...more
7
Hot Bench is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Sonia Montejano, Tanya Acker, Larry Bakman

Premiered: 2014

Hot Bench is a nontraditional panel-based court show that made its debut in first-run syndication on September 15, 2014. The series is produced by Judge Judy's Judge Judy Sheindlin, who also ...more
8
Lauren Lake's Paternity ... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Malak Dbg added Lauren Lake
Lauren Lake's Paternity Court is a syndicated nontraditional court show/tabloid talk show hybrid, bringing family lawyer and legal analyst Lauren Lake as she hears and rules on paternity cases ...more
9
Judge Alex is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Alex Ferrer

Premiered: 2005

Judge Alex is an American arbitration-based reality court show, presided over by retired police officer, lawyer, and Florida Judge Alex Ferrer. The series premiered on September 12, 2005, 4 ...more
10
Judge Joe Brown is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Joe Brown, Holly Evans, Sonia Montejano

Premiered: 1998

11
Judge Karen is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Judge Karen Karen Mills-Francis

Premiered: 2008

Judge Karen is an American arbitration-based reality court show that aired in first-run syndication and debuted on September 8, 2008 in 48 of the top 50 U.S. markets. As with other court shows, ...more
12
America's Court with Jud... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
America's Court With Judge Ross Kevin A. Ross

Premiered: 2010

America's Court with Judge Ross is a nationally syndicated, nontraditional/dramatized court show that premiered in several major U.S. media markets on September 20, 2010. The Emmy-nominated ...more
13
Law & Order: Crimina... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
MattJackson added Kathryn Erbe, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jamey Sheridan

Premiered: 2001

This show is an American police procedural television drama series set in New York City, where it was also primarily produced. Created and produced by Dick Wolf and René Balcer, the ...more

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14
Judge Jeanine Pirro is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Jeanine Pirro

Premiered: 2008

Judge Jeanine Pirro is an American arbitration-based reality court show, presided over by retired Westchester County, New York, District Attorney Jeanine Pirro. The series debuted on The CW on ...more
15
Night Court is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
MattJackson added Harry Anderson, John Larroquette, Richard Moll

Premiered: 1984

Night Court is an American television situation comedy that aired on NBC from January 4, 1984, to May 31, 1992. The setting was the night shift of a Manhattan court, presided over by the young, ...more

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16
Judge Maria Lopez is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Judge Maria Lopez Maria Lopez

Premiered: 2006

Judge Maria Lopez is an American arbitration-based reality court show, presided over by Maria Lopez. On the show, guests themselves presented and argued small claims civil actions before the ...more
17
The People v. O. J. Simp... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
MattJackson added Sterling K. Brown, Kenneth Choi, Christian Clemenson

Premiered: 2016

The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX, 2016) is the first season of the FX true crime anthology television series American Crime Story. Based on the book by Jeffrey Toobin, the ...more
18
Bull is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
MattJackson added Bull Michael Weatherly, Freddy Rodriguez, Geneva Carr
Bull (CBS, 2016) is an American drama television series created by Phil McGraw and Paul Attanasio, based on the early days of talk show host Dr. Phil. Psychologist and trial science expert Dr. ...more
19
Texas Justice is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Texas Justice Larry Joe Doherty

Premiered: 2001

Texas Justice is a syndicated American arbitration-based reality court show. In the program, cases were run by former Houston attorney Larry Joe Doherty, and the program was recorded at the ...more
20
Harry's Law is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
MattJackson added Kathy Bates, Nate Corddry, Christopher McDonald

Premiered: 2011

Harry's Law is an American legal comedy-drama television series created by David E. Kelley, which ran from January 17, 2011, to May 27, 2012. On May 12, 2011, NBC renewed the show for a second ...more

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21
Last Shot with Judge Gun... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Last Shot with Judge Gunn Mary Ann Gunn, Lisa Dennis, Michael McHenry

Premiered: 2011

Last Shot with Judge Gunn is an American reality-based nontraditional court show that debuted in syndication on September 26, 2011. The series is presented by Mary Ann Gunn and distributed by ...more
22
Arrest & Trial is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
MattJackson added Arrest & Trial Brian Dennehy

Premiered: 2000

Arrest & Trial is an American, syndicated nontraditional court show which follows individual criminal cases via a combination of reenactments and real trial footage. Episodes run for 30 ...more
23
The Verdict is Yours is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
David Ensor, Robert Rietty

Premiered: 1957

24
Moral Court is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Moral Court Larry Elder

Premiered: 2000

Moral Court is a nontraditional court show that is hosted by opinionated Larry Elder, and originally ran from 2000 to 2001. The program had the same concept as a legality court show however the ...more
25
Judge Mills Lane is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Courtroom Shows
Judge Mills Lane Mills Lane

Premiered: 1998

Judge Mills Lane is an American television series and arbitration-based reality court show that ran in first-run syndication from August 17, 1998 to September 7, 2001. Reruns later aired on The ...more