Missouri Court Records

Why Missouri Court Records are Available to the Public

In 1961, the Missouri State Legislature pass a law named the Missouri Public Records Law. This law was enabled with the last changes in 2006 and aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public.

What Court Records Access Means To You

The law is similar to the Missouri Sunshine Law, the law states a policy intent of disclosure of all documents which have been supported and upheld by decades of case law. The Missouri Public Records Law intent is that all records maintained by state and local government entities be available for public at all state levels.

 Accountability to the Public

When the legislature enacted Missouri Public Records Law, it expressively declared that access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state. Indeed, in Missouri access to the government and court records in particular has been deemed a fundamental interest in citizenship and has emphasized that maxim disclosure of the conduct of governmental operations [is] to be promoted by the act. By promoting prompt public access to government records, the Missouri Public Records Law is intended to safeguard the accountability of government to the public.

How the Missouri Court Process Functions

Most cases in Missouri courts begin in one of the 114 superior or trial courts located in each of the state’s 114 counties.

The next level of judicial authority resides with the Court of Appeals. Most cases before the Court of Appeals involves the review of a superior court decision being contested by a party involved in the case.

The Supreme Court serves as the highest court in the state and has discretion to review decisions of the Court of Appeals in order to settle important questions of law and to resolve conflicts among the Court of Appeals.

Some differences between Civil Court and Small Claims Court below

 

Small Claims

Civil

Appeal

Only the party who was sued can file an appeal. The person who filed the claim cannot appeal.

Either party can appeal.

Attorney Representation

You cannot have a lawyer file your papers or go to court with you – except for an appeal.

You can have a lawyer file your papers and go to court for you.

Filling fee for either defendant or plaintiff’s claim

$20 -$100 per claim

$180 - $320 per claim

Pretrial Discovery allowed

No

Yes

How long to complete your case

30-70 days after the complaint

120 days after you file the complaint

 You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to file or defend a case in Small Claims Court. If you do not speak English well, bring someone who speaks English and ask the judge if that person can serve as your interpreter. The court cannot provide you an interpreter.

You can find an interpreter by using the Idaho Courts Interpreter Search page. Also see the webpage with interpreter information on this website https://www.hg.org/court-interpreter-certification.html .

How Missouri Court Records Are Structured

The court records category is made up of civil and small claims matters.

Civil cases are matters where the petitioner is seeking more than $150,000. Close to 170,000 civil court records are filed with the courts annually. Civil cases also include other types of disputes that do not involve money, like cases to resolve (or “quiet”) title to real property, cases asking for civil restraining orders and requests to change your name or your child’s name.

Small Claims Court filings are cases where the petitioner is seeking $5,000 or less and is not represented by counsel. Close to 100,000 of small claims cases are filed statewide every year.

Here are some examples of common Small Claims Court cases:

  • Your former landlord refuses to return the security deposit you paid.
  • Someone dents your fender and refuses to pay for the repairs.
  • Your new TV does not work, and the store will not fix it.
  • Your tenant caused damage to the apartment, and the repairs cost more than their security deposit (Note: You cannot use small claims court to evict someone.).
  • You lent money to a friend, and he/she refuses to pay you back.
  • Any money dispute that does not exceed $5,000.
  • Any car repair dispute that does not exceed $5,000.
  • Any auto negligence dispute that does not exceed $5,000.
  • Small Claims Court can also order a defendant to do something, as long as the claim is also asking for money. For example, the court can cancel a contract or the court can order your neighbor to pay you for your lawn mower or order them to return it to you right away
Missouri State Archives

Missouri State Archives

Results Include

Full State Record Report:

  • Name
  • Location
  • Case Number
  • Case Summary
  • Docket
  • Police Report
  • Court Documents
  • Legal Records
  • Case File
  • Statements
  • Transcripts
  • Legal Forms
  • Case Notes
  • Disposition
  • Trial Records
  • Arbitration
  • Case Evidence
  • Witnesses
  • Interviews
  • Descriptions
  • Mugshots
  • Charges
  • Legal Motions
  • Attorney Records
  • Prosecution Records
Missouri St. Louis Courthouse 1862

Missouri St. Louis Courthouse 1862

  • State Archives hold over 560 cubic feet of records.
  • There are 2 levels of Courts: trial and appellate.
  • There are 3 districts of Trial courts in Missouri.
  • There are 45 circuits of Missouri Circuit courts.
  • The highest Court in Missouri is Missouri Supreme Court.
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