Everything You Need to Know About Court Records

Everything You Need to Know About Court Records

There are many reasons you might want to access court records. Maybe you’re checking on someone in your neighborhood, maybe you’re trying to learn the outcome of a case that impacts you, or maybe you’re doing family genealogical research. No matter why you’re accessing records, here’s what you need to know about court records as a whole, as well as how to look up court records.

What Are Court Records?

“Court record” is an umbrella term that refers to any records that a court files after a case is completed. Court records most prominently include case files, which give information about the case and any issues surrounding the case, but they can also include indexes, minutes, and administration files. If you’re looking for information about how a case proceeded or how the case was settled, you’re looking for court records.

What Information Is Available From Court Records?

Court records can help you learn a lot about someone’s court history. In a criminal case, you can learn if someone was accused of a crime, what arguments the individual used during the case, and whether the person was convicted or not. In civil cases, you can learn what happened, what both people said about the case, and the outcome of the case.

Where Are Court Records Stored?

It depends a lot on the individual case, the type of record, and the age of the case. Most cases that happened less than 15 years ago will stay with the court that settled the docket. However, cases that are older than this may go to the National Archives instead, as the National Archives holds over 200 years of court proceedings. If you’re looking for court records, you’ll need to look in both the National Archives and the local court that managed the proceedings.

What’s the Best Way to Access Court Records?

There are many ways to access court records. Technically, these are typically public records, which means you may be able to visit a court and get them as a member of the general public. However, the problem with this is that it can be extremely expensive to find, print, and certify these records. Instead, many people are turning to public record search engines, which have already done the work of digging back and finding these records, allowing you to search for them more easily. A public record search engine can help you find court records from across the country for a single membership fee, rather than having to dig them up yourself.


Court records can be an important part of learning more about someone, whether that someone is still alive today or you’re looking into history stretching back hundreds of years. If you’re looking for the most effective way to find court records, whether they’re from a few years ago or they’re significantly far back in the past, you may want to find a public record search engine for absolute ease of use and often less expensive access.

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