Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records
How do Missouri Courts work?
The Supreme Court is the highest ranking legal authority within the state of Missouri. As a result, it has the power to review any decision made by the Court of Appeals, allowing the Supreme Court to weigh in on any legal questions or conflicts. The Court of Appeals then holds a similar power and function over the lower courts in Missouri, reviewing decisions only when an appeal is lodged. These lower courts come in the form of the 11 superior or trial courts across the 114 counties in Missouri.
Civil Cases and Small Claims
Civil and small claims matters are very different in the state of Missouri, with each dealing with different types of cases and different sums of money. For instance, the civil court in Missouri deals only with cases in which the petitioner is appealing for $150,000 and above. There are around 170,000 of these cases across Missouri each year. However, non-monetary cases such as name changes, restraining orders, and disputes over property can also be heard within a civil court. On the other hand, small claims courts deal with cases in which the petitioner is looking for $5,000 or less. There are nearly 100,000 of these cases annually across the state of Missouri. Small claims courts deal with cases such as disputes over loans, warranties, repairs, deposits, rent, and more, as long as the sum is $5,000 or below. The small claims court also holds the power to force a defendant into paying up a sum.
Appeals and court limits
The appeals process also differs from civil courts to small claims courts in Missouri. In a small claims court, a person does not have to be a US Citizen to file or defend. Also, if they do not speak good levels of English, they may hire an interpreter. Only the party who was sued can file an appeal in a small claims court, while anyone can appeal in civil cases. Pretrial discovery is not allowed in small claims court, but it does feature in civil court. A person cannot hire a lawyer to represent them or file papers on their behalf in small claims court, but both are allowed in civil court. There is a fee of between $20 and $100 for small claims cases in Missouri, before a period of 30-70 days is given for each party to complete their cases. In civil court, the filing fee is $180-$320, and each party is given up to 120 days to complete their case.
Why are court records public?
The Missouri Public Records Law came into place in the year of 1961, with the most recent changes coming in 2006. The aim of this law is to ensure that all members of the public within the state of Missouri have the fundamental right to access public records as they please. All public records held by both the local and state government may be accessed and copied by residents of Missouri. Not only does this disclosure promote a sense of transparency, but it also safeguards government accountability.
To access records:
Missouri Supreme Court,
207 W High St, Jefferson City,
MO 65101, USA
Phone: (405) 556-9300