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What are Georgia Civil Court Records?
Georgia civil court records consist of the files and documents generated during in-court proceedings. They include docket sheets, transcripts, court notices and more. Unlike criminal court records, which detail trials involving crimes against the state, civil court records cover cases involving legal disputes between individuals and parties, such as breach of contract claims, personal injury claims, housing evictions and more.
What information is Contained in a Georgia Civil Court File?
The exact information available in a civil court file varies depending on the type of case. However, most civil court files generally contain the following:
- The amended complaint or a substituted compliant
- Cross complaints and third party complaints
- Judgment file
- Memorandum of decision
- Executions issued and return
- Order of notice and appearances
Are all Georgia Civil Court Records Free?
In accordance with the Georgia Open Records Act, most civil court records are free. However, while members of the public may freely view or inspect records in public terminals, a fee is charged if viewers request for copies. The exact fee is determined by the clerk of court.
Obtaining Civil Court Records
How Do I Access Georgia State Civil Court Records in Person?
Step 1. Obtain the Case Number
Searching with the case number provides the quickest and easiest way of locating a court record. Interested parties who don’t already have a case number can find one by searching through the court’s index or court docket. Members of the public may also be able to locate court files using the name of the defendant or plaintiff, but this process may take longer, especially if the plaintiff has a common name.
Step 2. Submit a request
To obtain copies of a record, members of the public must submit a request that specifies the required request. Requests should include relevant details such as the filing date, case number, attorney on record, and presiding judge. To simplify the process, most clerks provide a request form that interested parties can fill.
3. Obtain Copies of Records
Court files can be viewed or inspected at the courthouse location. Files may be stored in archives, the library or available for viewing at a public terminal. While inspecting a record is free, interested parties who require copies of a record will be expected to pay a fee to cover the cost of printing and making copies.
How Do I Find Georgia State Criminal Court Records Online?
The Judicial Council of Georgia provides online access to court records via the E-Access platform maintained by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Interested parties can obtain civil court records by selecting the county of interest and searching through the available files. Accessing files requires a registered account. Alternatively, interested persons may visit each court’s official website and click on the case search window.
Publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third party sites are not government sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
Can I Obtain Civil Court Records by Mail?
Depending on the type of case and the requestor's relationship, some courts in Georgia provide copies of civil court records via mail. Members can confirm if the court offers this option by contacting the official clerk. Most of the courts that provide this option have details on how to submit a request featured on the official court’s website. The website also provides details on the cost of securing copies of civil court records using this method. Submitted request forms must include specific information to facilitate the search, such as a case number (if known) or names of the parties involved.
Are all Georgia Civil Court Records Open to the Public?
Not all Georgia civil court records can be accessed by the general public. Although Georgia’s Open Records Act preserves access to most records, it also places certain limits on the types of records that may be publicly accessible. For instance, civil court records containing juvenile delinquency information are restricted from public view. Courts may also issue an order restricting access to certain civil records if they are found to contain:
- Information on pending investigations
- Confidential information on witnesses or other persons
- Collected by law enforcement
- Confidential surveillance information.
- Victim’s confidential information
- Financial account numbers (except for the last 4 digits)
- Trade or business secrets or proprietary information
- Sealed or restricted criminal court records
- Name of a person younger than 18 years of age
How Do I Find Georgia State Criminal Public Records for Free?
It is possible to view criminal court records for free on the court website or at the court location, however, courts would usually charge a fee for obtaining copies of records. The fees for copying may vary, depending on the court and the County in which it is located. The Court of Appeals fees are charged to a party rather than individuals, such that once the attorney for the appellant has paid the fees, other attorneys for that party may access the records for no additional fees.
Are Georgia Trial Transcripts Open to the Public?
Trial transcripts of civil court cases fall under the umbrella of public record, which means they can be viewed and obtained by members of the public. Interested parties can obtain copies of a transcript by submitting a request to the court reporter. Requests must contain specific information to assist with the search, such as the date of the case, the judge presiding at the case, and the case number.