Chancery means “equity,” and equity is defined as “that which is naturally right” and denotes the characteristic of fairness.  Hence, matters decided by the Chancellor are decided on not only the law, if a law exists, but also on maxims of right and remedy.  

Chancery Court

Chancery Court has jurisdiction of actions involving fraud, specific performance contracts, reformation, recession or surrender of written instruments; dissolution of partnerships; actions for controlling or overseeing the assets of persons under disability; actions for the redemption of land, construction, and enforcement of wills or trusts.

The system and procedure of Chancery Court constituted a part of the law our ancestors brought with them from England.  When North Carolina became a state, this Chancery system was recognized and incorporated into the Constitution. Later, when Tennessee, then a part of North Carolina, became a State, Congress made North Carolina laws our laws. Through the years, the State of Tennessee has fully recognized Chancery Court and its administration fully provided for, although some simplification and modernization has been accomplished.


Can I represent myself in Court (particularly in a divorce action)?

Yes, all citizens have the right to represent themselves in Court.  

Are forms available from the Court for filing a divorce?

The Supreme Court of Tennessee has adopted forms for filing a divorce with or without minor children. You can access these forms online or come to our office. If you do not use the Supreme Court approved forms or forms provided, you must prepare your own paperwork and you are responsible for the correctness and compliance with Tennessee Law. 

When are property sales held? And where?

The sale date is set by the Delinquent Tax Attorney for the County, but not more frequently that once a year.  

How do I place a bid on the property?

The sale is a public auction, held at the Courthouse, and all bidders must appear in person and register as a bidder prior to the sale.

When can I get a list of the property that will be sold?

A list will be published in the Standard Banner 30 to 45 days prior to the sale.  It is the responsibility of the bidder to make an investigation as to all matters concerning the property.

When do I take possession of the property?

Pursuant to Statute, the owner(s) has l year from confirmation of the sale by the Chancery Court to redeem the property.  Should the owner choose to redeem the property, the purchaser at the sale will receive the amount of his bid plus 1% per annum, and will also be reimbursed for any additional taxes paid at the time of the purchase.

Will I be required to make payment the day of the sale?

Yes, payment is required the day of the sale, either by cash, cashier’s check or personal check.

Chancellor James H. Ripley

James H. Ripley is the presiding Chancellor of Chancery Court in the Fourth and Fifth Judicial Districts and serves Jefferson, Sevier, Cocke, Grainger and Blount Counties. He was elected to the Bench for an 8-year term in 2022 replacing retired Chancellor Telford E. Forgety, Jr.

Nancy C. Humbard

Nancy C. Humbard is the Clerk & Master of Jefferson County Chancery Court, having been appointed to that position January 1, 1994.  She is currently in her fourth term as Clerk and Master.

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