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What are Connecticut Civil Court Records?
Connecticut Civil Court Records are composed of transcripts, pleadings, orders, testimonies, and all other records associated with a civil case trial. They're maintained by the Clerk of Court where the civil case was filed or heard. In compliance with state laws, members of the public may copy or inspect civil court records as long as they’re not marked as confidential by state statute or court order. Examples of civil cases heard and decided by the Connecticut Civil Court include personal injury, automobile accidents, contract disputes, professional or product liability suits, and landlord-tenant disputes.
Connecticut Civil Court System
The Connecticut court system is made up of the Supreme Court, Appellate Court, Superior Court, and the Probate Court.
The Connecticut Supreme Court, being the highest court in the state, hears appeal cases originating from the Superior Court. It also reviews decisions made by the Appellate Court. When reviewing decisions, the judges only consider the recordings of court proceedings that took place in the lower courts. They don’t need to listen to witnesses or consider evidence from the beginning again. The Judges also listens to briefs and oral arguments by counsels of both parties to the lawsuit to help in deciding the case. Most appeal cases from the Superior Court are sent to the Appeal Court, but claims that have to do with the state constitution or statute are brought directly to the Supreme Court. There are six associate justices and a Chief Justice assigned to a Supreme Court.
The Connecticut Appellate Court reviews most decisions from the Superior Court, especially those that are not directly taken to the Supreme Court. It also considers only briefs and arguments from the counsel and recordings of the Superior Court’s proceeding. The Appellate Court in Connecticut has nine Judges, and one of them is the Chief Judge. It takes three judges to sit on a panel and decide cases. But in some exceptional cases, all the nine judges might be present (sit en banc).
The Superior Court in Connecticut has four trial divisions, which are the civil, criminal, family, and housing. Its civil division has jurisdiction over major civil cases and other civil matters, including civil jury and civil non-jury cases.
What is Included in a Connecticut Civil Court Record?
The contents of a Connecticut Civil Court record ultimately depends on the case and surrounding allegations. Generally, a civil court file may include:
- The complaints
- Complaint amendments
- A substituted complaint
- Order of notice
- Officers’ returns
- Affidavits /Military affidavits
- Cross complaints
- Third-party complaints and amendments
- Responsive pleadings
- Decisions memorandum
- The entry of judgment notation
- Judgment modifications
- Executions issued
- Executions returned
Are All Connecticut Court Records Open to The Public?
Not all records are open to the public. Connecticut civil court records are only accessible if they contain non-confidential information, or the court has not sealed them. Some documents are sealed automatically by the court. For records that have partial sealing, only the sealed information will be inaccessible by the public; others will be available for inspection. Some sealed documents have a sealing order expiry date, after which members of the public can access them. Dispositions in civil cases are available after the court proceedings and are generally open to the public. Individuals can view them at the Clerk’s office. Docket sheets are also available after the court’s business hours, except the court proceeding was confidential. Juror information is also open to the public, albeit with restrictions. Confidential juror questionnaires are not available for public inspection. But the names of the Jurors, address, period of service, the amount paid for service are accessible. Telephone numbers are undisclosable.
How Do I Obtain Civil Court Records in Connecticut?
Civil court records can be obtained in person. Members of the public may also be able to obtain records online or via mail.
Obtaining Connecticut Civil Court Records in Person
Individuals seeking to obtain Connecticut civil court records in person should visit the Superior Courts in the judicial district or geographical area where the plaintiff filed the civil case. Details can be found using the Connecticut Courts directory. Most courts recommend that requesters provide a written request. Written requests should include clear descriptions of the needed civil court records, as well as vital information that is related to the case, such as the case or docket number.
How do I Obtain Connecticut Civil Court Records Via Mail?
Persons interested in obtaining copies of civil court records of the Superior Court can send an email to SuperiorCourtRecordsCenter@jud.ct.gov. They should include the case name and docket number to identify the records. The files would be retrieved within two business days. The requester can choose to receive it via email. They can also choose to pick it up at the court or centralized service unit. Requesters might need proof of identification to pick up some files. Individuals can also request for transcripts of a court hearing by writing a request and submitting it to the Court Reporter’s office at the court’s judicial district where the civil case hearing took place. Written requests sent to the court official must include the case name, judge’s name, docket number, date(s) of hearing, and court location of the trial. Requests may also include a description of the court proceeding as well as the name, address, and telephone number of the requester.
How Do I Find Connecticut Civil Court Records Online
The Judicial Branch of Connecticut maintains an online Case Look-up for finding information about Superior Court civil cases. It also provides case look-up platforms for the Supreme and Appellate Courts. Similarly, the Supreme Court also publishes its final opinions and dockets on the Judicial Branch Website.
Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.