1802 was a landmark year in the Judicial history of North Malabar in which year the first zilla court was established at Thalassery (formerly known as Tellicherry). To begin with, it was three bench Court of which, Two Judges were on circuit. H.Clephen was the First Judge of the Zilla Court, Thalassery. In 1816 a District Munsiff Court was established at Thalassery. In 1845 all Courts were abolished and in their place a Civil and Sessions Court and a Principal Sudir Amin’s Courts were established. In 1873 the Civil and Sessions Court was changed into District and Sessions Court. It is worth remembering that the Thalassery Bench and Bar celebrated the Bi-Centenary of the establishment of Zilla Court at Thalassery in 2002-2003 in a befitting manner.
Thalassery Courts has its Glorious past and that name and fame, by erudits Bar and eminent Judges due to their performance well. The contribution of Thalassery Courts to the higher Judiciary is worth mentioning viz; Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer, Justice V.Khalid, Justice K.Bhaskaran, Justice K.Bhaskaran Nambiar, Justice P.A.Muhammed, late Justice P.V.Narayanan Nambiar and Justice A.K.Basheer. Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed was also a former member of the Bar Association.The present Director General of Prosecution Mr.T.Asaf Ali is also a member of the glorious Bar.
Thalassery is the Judicial head quarter of Kannur Revenue District. 13 regular Courts are functioning here and camp Courts like Labour Court, Human Right Commission etc. are also conducting sittings at Thalassery Court Complex. There are 700 members on the role of the District Court Bar Association and has a well stocked and up-dated Library. As part of the Bi –Centenary celebration, a well equipped Library has also started functioning in the Court premises for the use of members and Judicial officers (Remembering the contributions of senior lawyer Mr. K K Venugopal to the library in memory of Barrister M K Nambiar). The district court bar association library is known as ‘Reid Libraray’ named after Justice J W Reed.
Noted Malayalam writer Chandu Menon who wrote Malayalam's first novel 'Indulekha' was a Judge at Thalassery. William Logan, who served as district judge at Thalassery in 1873, is still remembered for his Malabar Manual.