What court hears the case when the government wants to take your land for a project?

Texas Property Code, Section 21.001, states that district and county courts at law have concurrent jurisdiction over eminent domain proceedings. However, constitutionally created county and municipal courts have no authority to preside over condemnation proceedings. If an eminent domain case is pending in a county court at law and a question arises involving title to the property, the case must be transferred to the district court. There are a few instances that the jurisdictional provisions of Chapter 21 do not apply. Therefore, it is important to reference the enabling statute authorizing a particular county court at law’s creation. Also, if the landowner of the property is an estate, the condemnation proceedings will be held in the court handling the probate of that estate.

Section 21.013 also contains venue provisions relating to condemnation proceedings. Venue refers to the appropriate location in which a condemnation proceeding may be tried. These provisions state:

a. The proper venue for a condemnation proceeding is the county in which the property owner resides—if the owner resides in the same county as the property. If the property owner does not reside in the same county as the property, proper venue lies in any county in which at least part of the condemned property is located. 

b. Ordinarily, if one or more county courts at law have jurisdiction over the condemned property, the party initiating a condemnation proceeding shall file the petition with any authorized clerk for that court or courts.

c. A party initiating a condemnation proceeding in a county in which there is not a county court at law must file the condemnation petition with the district clerk. 

Condemnation proceedings primarily occur in county courts at law.


Learn how to protect your rights when the government takes your land:
Texas Eminent Domain Guide

David Todd