Accessing small claims records is a relatively easy process. Any matters that a small claims court deals with are readily available to anyone who wishes to see them. If you want to look up a claim or see if a judgment has been handed down in a case, you can visit the court clerk's office in person or go online to get the information you need.
Small claims court, which is also called lower court, hears matters where the level of damages being sought is relatively small. The limit for claims being heard in different jurisdictions in the United States varies depending on the state involved and ranges between $1,500-$15,000 US Dollars (USD). In Canada, the limit is set by the province or territory, and can range from $5,000-$25,000 Canadian dollars.
Once a person making a claim against another individual or corporation, known as the plaintiff, files documents with the local Small Claims Court, the contents are available to the public. A person who wants to see whether a particular matter has been resolved or if someone they know has ever been involved in a lawsuit can find out by checking small claims records.
To check small claims records in person, go to the court clerk's office in the jurisdiction where the action would have been started. This a a good approach to finding information when you want to review or get a hard copy of the court documents in a particular matter. Before heading out, contact the court office to confirm that it has small claims court records available and to determine the right address.
The other way to check court records is to go online. A number of jurisdictions have an online database where the public can get access to small claims records. Before you start your search, make sure that you have clicked on the website for the correct jurisdiction.
To get the right information, you need to be sure of where the legal action was started. If you aren't sure of the exact location, you may need to search in a few neighboring jurisdictions to find the correct records. Once you do gain access, check the spelling and identifying information for the parties carefully to make sure that the small claims records pertain to the right person.