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California Court Records Search

California Court Records Search
Michelle S. June 12, 2022

California is probably one of the few American states known for its court cases. The state is filled with TV, sports, and social media celebrities. And we know, that the more popular you are, the louder is your court case. However, court cases have become a part of the "routine," not only among celebrities. Many civilians have had the experience of filing a lawsuit against an individual or a juridical person. This article will examine who, how, and when can access the California civil records and what are the best platforms for that.



What are California civil court records?


Any lawsuit that has ever been filed against somebody is considered a case, a physical track of which is contained in the court. In other words, filing a case against somebody becomes a part of the California court records. Whether those records are "public" or "confidential" depends on the case. Public California civil court records can be easily accessible by any of the parties mentioned further in this article unless it is stated otherwise by the court.



In comparison, confidential California court records are not available to the public upon request unless you are a party in a particular case. According to the California courts, the Judicial Branch of California government website, the examples of confidential cases include "juvenile dependency" and "juvenile delinquency."


California civil court records on "juvenile dependency" contain records of cases where the child is removed from their parents, whereas the "juvenile delinquency" court cases showcase the accusations that a child has committed a crime. In any of the aforementioned cases, California court records are not accessible to the public.


However, there are cases where most of the California court information is public, but only certain documents are hidden from the public eye. According to the Judicial Branch of California, such records include a fee waiver application, where only half of the California court information can be revealed to the public.



 Where to look for California court records?


There are two ways California court records are stored: paper and electronic court databases. The majority of courts keep the California civil court records in paper format. However, not all of them have an electronic database where you can find the necessary information. Once you have identified how the California court information is stored about the case of your interest, you can gain access to it. There are the following possibilities to do that:


Paper California court records search

In case the California court records are stored on paper, you can obtain them by physically arriving at the court and requesting those. The court should be able to provide you with them if you are eligible.


Electronic California court records search

If you want to access the public California court information stored electronically, you have two possibilities. The first is to physically arrive at the courthouse and look for the information in the database provided by the court on their devices.

The second option is only available if your court has a database that allows remote access to it without physical presence at the courthouse. You need an internet connection and an electronic device such as your phone, tablet, or laptop.


However, remote access by the public is possible for all the cases except for divorce, child custody, civil harassment, and criminal because these cases would undermine the person's privacy. If one needs or wants to have remote access to them, he needs to arrive at the courthouse and file a request for it. Nevertheless, there are exceptions. For instance, if there is an unusually high level of public interest in the case, the judge may allow remote access to even criminal electronic records.



How to conduct a California court search?


The best thing you could do is open an official government website and browse through the court database. In most cases, one completes the California court search by knowing as little as the city or a city zip code of their court.

Who can run the California court records search?


There are a few cases where you can request full remote access to the California court information.

If you are a party in the case. In this case, even the "confidential" California civil court records would be accessible to you.

If you gained permission from the court itself and you are:

Party: a party can be a person figuring in the case. In this case, you will be able to run a California court records search with confidential records.

Person Authorized by a Party: mostly a person helping a party that is part of the case. In this case, a person authorized by a party can perform a California court records search. However, this does not apply to electronic records of criminal, juvenile justice, child welfare cases, or confidential electronic records.

Court-appointed People, Legal Aid and Government Staff can access public California civil court records remotely.

This article has covered all aspects and specifics of the California court records search and California court searches.


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