Court Basics - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I get court records?
A: The court clerk in the county where the matter was filed has copies of the records. Copies may be requested in person or by mail, in some courts, and online.
The quickest way to obtain a copy is to go there in person. To locate the county courthouse, go to Find My Court and, using the list of courts, link out to the court website. At its website, in addition to contact information, you will probably find specific instructions for obtaining copies of court documents from that particular court.
To obtain copies of documents by mail, your letter must typically include the following:
- The full names of the parties to the case, including first,
middle, and last names, and case number, if known.
- The approximate year of filing.
- Whether you need a certified copy of the document (governmental agencies may require certified copies).
- Your name, address, and phone number to ensure the return of documents and to give the court a way to contact you if there are any questions about your request.
- A self-addressed stamped, legal-sized envelope for return of documents.
- A check made payable to "Superior Court of California, County of [put the name of the county] .
Depending on how long ago your case happened, your request may take 3 to 6 weeks. Older court records may be stored somewhere else than at the courthouse, and requests for records stored off site sometimes take longer to process.