New Jersey Court Records
Where to Find New Jersey Civil Court Records
New Jersey civil court records are documents created by government entities that outline civil court proceedings in the state. Typically, civil court records contain all disputes, suits, claims, transcripts, dockets, and motions pertaining to a civil court proceeding. New Jersey civil court records can be requested from the courthouse where the civil case was filed and heard. It may also be possible for interested parties to access these documents through third-party websites such as NewJerseyCourtRecords.Us.
Are New Jersey Civil Court Records Public?
According to the New Jersey Public Records Act, records created by government entities "shall be readily accessible for inspection, copying, or examination by the citizens of this State". This act encompasses all records unless the documents have been expunged, sealed, or made confidential. Records that have been expunged are not accessible to any person or authority while sealing records or making a document confidential make the materials unable for the public to access. Records are often sealed or made confidential when the document contains sensitive information that could put a persons' or institutions' safety or security at risk. Sealing could come as the result of a court order petition. The court may automatically seal the records if the documents contain information regarding minors, psychological or medical examinations, personal financial information, or details regarding a victim of a crime.
Records that have been sealed by the court are typically only accessible to involved parties, including lawyers and judges that were part of the legal proceedings. Meeting eligibility requirements is necessary to petition for access to a sealed record.
Types of Cases in New Jersey Civil Courts
Civil courts in New Jersey typically hear cases where the charges against the defendant are non-criminal, but the plaintiff has been harmed in some way and is seeking compensation. In New Jersey, civil cases are held in the Superior Court or the Special Civil Court, depending on the charges and claims. A civil court case can be brought against individuals or institutions for wrongdoing that is not considered unlawful. Examples of civil court cases in the state are:
- Automobile accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Breaches of contract
- Landlord/tenant disputes
- Non-violent discrimination
- Sex Offenses
- Workplace injury
- Tort Cases
- Juvenile Records
- Small Claims
- Family court matters including marriage, divorce, child custody agreements, and adoption.
- Crime Trial
What is the Difference Between Criminal Cases and Civil Cases in New Jersey?
While civil cases are typically violations against an individual, criminal cases are offenses against the state. Criminal cases often involve violent acts against the law and are considered more severe than civil cases, which are typically non-violent. In other words, criminal cases are prosecuted by the state or the court where the crime was committed, while individuals or non-government parties launch civil cases.
How Do I Find Civil Court Records In New Jersey?
New Jersey civil court records are maintained and disseminated by the clerk of court in the courthouse and division where the case was finalized. Civil court records can be requested through the court in-person, by mail, or by email. The first step in requesting these records is filling out the records request form. This form asks for the requesting party's personal information, information about where the record is held, case details, and all relevant fees. When the form is filled out, print and deliver to the courthouse where the case was finalized along with the accepted form of payment. Requesting parties can also save and send this request form in an email to SCCO.Mailbox@njcourts.gov.
How Do I Find Civil Court Records Online?
According to NJ Rev Stat § 2B:1-4 (2013), courts are responsible for operating automated data processing systems, so members of the public can access court records online. The Electronic Access Program (EAP) was created for this purpose and necessitates a subscription. The EAP manages online portals for accessing court records and information. The portals operated by the EAP that are relevant to Civil Court are:
- Automated Case Management System (ACMS) regarding records maintained by the Superior Court
- Civil Judgment and Order Docket (CJOD) regarding records of lien judgments, or property judgments, from 1984 to present
- Family Automated Case Tracking System (FACTS) regarding the Family Division of Superior Court
Using EAP costs $4.00 per minute and does not allow printing or saving copies of the records available. The subscription and viewing of records will be free if the party is requesting access to personal records.
What Is Included In a New Jersey Civil Court Record?
In New Jersey, the information held within civil court records differs depending on the county where the case was opened. Generally, if available, civil court records contain:
- The plaintiff and the defendant's personal information
- All documents filed, orders entered, proceedings, motions, arrests, evidence, transcripts, arguments, and attorneys involved
- The defendant's plea
- Final judgments and agreements
How to Access New Jersey Civil Court Records For Free
New Jersey civil court records can be accessed for free by the parties involved in the court process, including the plaintiff, defendant, and attorneys. This can be done online using New Jersey's Electronic Access Program (EAP) or by mail, in-person, or email.
How to Seal Civil Court Records in New Jersey
If a civil court record holds confidential information, the court will automatically seal the record from public viewership. The expungement of a record is a type of sealing, but it completely erases the record and necessitates an Expungement Petition to be filled out and filed with the Superior Court that heard the case. After the Superior Court judge reviews the petition, a hearing will be set in one to two months. It is necessary for the party filing for expungement to disseminate copies of the expungement documents to all government bodies involved.
Following the hearing, a judge will either deny or grant the expungement. If it is granted, an Expungement Order will be given to the filing party. The Expungement Order will then be sent to all government bodies involved so the records can be deleted from each database. Generally, an expungement process in New Jersey takes up to six months.
How to Access Sealed Civil Court Records in New Jersey
Members of the public that the court clerk will deny request access to civil court records that have been sealed. However, it is possible to challenge the court's decision to seal the documents in the first place or provide proof of eligibility requirements.