Courts of first instance are the first level of litigation in civil cases and in criminal cases involving misdemeanors and petty offenses.
Family Courts were created to provide a forum more conducive to resolving family disputes than regular civil courts.
In civil cases, trials of small claims cases are conducted by a single judge, with appeals being to a panel of thee court of first instance judges. Trials of cases involving larger amounts of money are tried before a panel of three court of first instance judges, with appeals being to a Court of Appeals.
The courts of first instance that try cases involving misdemeanors and petty offenses are called summary courts, or misdemeanor courts. Misdemeanors are defined as crimes punishable by up to three years of detention, which in the case of multiple offenses may be aggregated by being ordered to be served consecutively. Appeals from convictions in misdemeanor courts are to misdemeanor appeal courts, which are composed of three court of first instance judges.
Misdemeanor courts in Egypt struggle with very high caseloads.