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Skills Center: Court Records

The file of a case in the trial courts contains a variety of documents, from the complaint or other pleading that begins the action, through motions and other documents filed during the course of the action, to the conclusions of law, findings of fact and orders for judgment of the trial court which ends it. None of these documents are published. They are filed with the court administrator for each district. When a case is appealed, the file is transferred to the Clerk of the Appellate Court. Once the appeal is decided, the files are returned to the district court.

District court records are available by the names of the parties or by the docket number of the case. To get a copy of a document in a court file, you should contact the Court Administration office in the District Court where the case was filed. There may be a fee to get copies of court records, including a fee to have the court "certify" the copy.

Court Record Center websites:

  • Minnesota District (Trial) Court Case Search, from Minnesota Judicial Branch.
  • Records Center, for the Fourth District (Hennepin County). FAQ.
  • Records of more recent cases may be available online through the public access to case records system. They are not searchable by topic.

    NOTE: By law or court order, some documents in a court file may be "confidential," "expunged," or "sealed" and cannot be viewed or copied.

    DISCLAIMER:  As librarians and not lawyers, we can suggest resources but cannot give legal advice (such as which form to file), or legal opinions, (such as how a statute might apply to particular facts.)  To do so could be considered the unauthorized practice of law.  Even though we try to suggest materials that will be of help, further research is usually required to find a complete and correct answer.  For many questions, the best answer may be to consult an attorney.  For links to resources on finding an attorney, see http://www.lawlibrary.state.mn.us/selfhelp.html#atty.

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    Minnesota State Law Library: Skills Center: Court Records

    Last updated on August 18, 2015.
    Links checked on January 14, 2015.

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