All individuals appearing on CourtRegistry are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law

HOW DO I SEARCH NEW JERSEY COURT RECORDS?

The New Jersey court system makes court records available to citizens on request in line with the state's Open Public Records Act. These records are often accessible in paper and electronic formats. New Jersey court records are considered public records according to state statutes and are available on request unless they have been sealed or expunged by a court order. Citizens may request access to court records in any of the following ways:

  • Visit the local courthouse where the case was heard and request to inspect the paper records.
  • Visit the local courthouse where the case was heard to request access to the electronic copies of the court records.
  • Complete a Record Request Form to make a mail-in request for copies of available court records
  • Access court records online for courts that offer this service.

To determine the address of a local courthouse, consider the My County Court search tool provided on the New Jersey Judicial website. Requests for copies of available court records may cost some fees.

HOW TO GET NEW JERSEY COURT RECORDS ONLINE FOR FREE?

Obtaining court records is not completely free. However, online court records may offer an inexpensive way to access case information of required court records. Some New Jersey courts provide access to their court records online. Note citizens who intend to obtain certified copies of court records or access court records where electronic versions are not available will need to visit the local courthouse where the case in question was heard. From the local courthouses, paper copies of court records can be obtained.

New Jersey citizens can access electronic copies of case records through the Electronic Access Program (EAP) of the State's Judiciary website. To access these records, a fee for remote access is charged at $1 per minute. Court records accessed through the EAP cannot be downloaded by a subscriber. The EAP can be accessed from the electronic access to court record link on the New Jersey Courts website. The EAP allows users to search for court records by three options:

  • Search by Docket Number
  • Search by Judgement Number
  • Search by Party Name

To access copies of case records from the 21 Superior Courts in the state, visit the county court page on the New Jersey Courts website or select the relevant county from the list below.

Court records are considered open to the public and are usually accessible through government sources, though they may also be accessed through third-party websites. These websites offer an easier method in most cases, as they are not limited by geographical area, or by limitations in search engine technology. They can often serve as a starting point when looking for a specific record, or multiple records. Interested parties must usually provide:

  • The name of the person listed in the record. This may not apply to records on juveniles.
  • The assumed or known location of the person listed in the record. This will most often be a city, county, or state.

Because they are not government-sponsored, record availability on third party websites may vary when compared to government sources.

HOW DOES THE NEW JERSEY COURT SYSTEM WORK?

The New Jersey Court System consists of several types of courts. The lowest courts are the Municipal Courts. There is the Superior Court, which includes an Appellate Division, and a Tax Court, and the Supreme Court. The Superior Courts are where the trials are handled in New Jersey and are therefore referred to as trial courts of general jurisdiction. The Appellate Courts are the Appellate Division of the Superior Court and the Supreme Court. The final arbiter in the New Jersey Courts System is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

There are 21 trial courts in New Jersey, one in each county. Court districts in New Jersey are called vicinages. The Superior Courts are divided into 15 vicinages. The court system in New Jersey handles over 7 million cases annually with approximately 6 million of these cases filed at the Municipal Courts.

HOW DOES THE NEW JERSEY MUNICIPAL COURT WORK?

Municipal Courts in New Jersey are the lowest courts and are considered as courts with limited jurisdiction. They are usually operated by the borough, township, or city in which the court is situated and only have jurisdictions over cases that occur within the municipality in which the court is located. New Jersey has 539 Municipal Courts and the Municipal Courts are where the largest portion of court cases are filed. These courts hear different categories of cases such as:

  • Motor-Vehicle Offenses (Speeding, DUI, illegal parking, etc.)
  • Disorderly Person Offenses (Trespassing, simple-assault, shoplifting, etc.)
  • Municipal Ordinance Offenses (Dog barking, building code violations, etc.)
  • Minor Criminal Offenses

Some serious criminal cases are initially filed at the Municipal Courts but are however moved to the Superior Courts for hearing.

Municipal court judges may be appointed from among resident attorneys who have practiced law for no less than 5 years. These judges are not mandated to retire at a particular age and do not serve tenures. Chapter 12 of the New Jersey Statutes (N.J.S.A.2B:12-1) permits two or more municipalities to establish a joint municipal court or to share facilities and agree to appoint administrators and judges.

HOW DOES THE NEW JERSEY SUPERIOR COURT WORK?

The Superior Courts are also the trial courts in New Jersey. There are trial courts in each of New Jersey's 21 counties. The Superior Courts have divisions such as the appellate division, chancery division, law division, and the Tax Court.

The Superior Courts handle cases involving civil, criminal, and family law. There are over 350 Superior Court trial judges in New Jersey.

Examples of criminal cases handled by the Superior Court include larcenies, drug possession, or murder. Trials are decided by a jury of 12 citizens representing the community in which the offense was committed. If a case is not resolved by plea bargain, and subsequently goes to trial, the jury declares a verdict as conviction or acquittal, or declares a mistrial if the jurors cannot agree on a verdict. If a mistrial is declared, the case will have to be heard by different jurors

Examples of civil cases handled at the Superior Court include:

  • Discriminations
  • Malpractices
  • Disagreement of contracts

In such cases, the plaintiff may be seeking damages or money as compensation for a perceived wrong. There is also the general equity type of civil case. Here, the plaintiff is not seeking monetary compensation but wishes the court to order the defendant to right a wrong such as a contest over a will. Civil cases in New Jersey are decided by a six-member jury.

Example of family cases handled at the Superior Court include:

  • Adoption matters
  • Divorce matters
  • Child-abuse
  • Domestic violence

The majority of family cases are decided by a single judge instead of a jury.

HOW DOES THE NEW JERSEY TAX COURT WORK?

The New Jersey Tax Court was principally created to afford taxpayers quick and objective hearings and settlements in matters relating to governmental taxing agencies. The Tax Court also serves to create a uniform body of tax law to guide relevant parties in promoting tax law and its application as well as promoting the development of an informed state and local tax bar.

The Tax Court has statewide but limited jurisdiction. Tax Court judges are appointed by the State Governor and have a mandatory retirement age of 70. They may be granted tenure until that age upon reappointment after an initial term of 7 years. 

The New Jersey Tax Court handles over 15,000 cases every year and has 12 Tax Court judgeships. For more information on the Tax Court, visit the Tax Court page of the New Jersey Courts website.

WHAT ARE NEW JERSEY APPELLATE COURTS?

Superior Court decisions in New Jersey may be reviewed at the appellate division of the Superior Court. However, if one or both parties involved in a case are not satisfied by the decision of the appellate division of the Superior Court, an appeal can be made to the highest court in New Jersey, the Supreme Court. The New Jersey Appellate Division has 36 judges. For cases handled by the division, witnesses, juries, or new evidence are not entertained. Cases are reviewed and resolved by a group of two or three judges

Cases that ultimately reach the Supreme Court are reviewed by a Chief Justice and 6 Associate Justices. The Supreme Court also does not accept new evidence or invite witnesses or juries. The court only reviews the trial proceedings from the lower courts for fairness and appropriateness of the verdict with the law.

Supreme Court justices and Superior Court judges are nominated to the state senate for appointment by the Governor. If confirmed by the state senate, the nominee is appointed for an initial term of seven years.

HOW MANY CASES DOES THE NEW JERSEY COURT SYSTEM HANDLE ANNUALLY?

Approximately 7 million cases are handled yearly by the New Jersey Court system. The Municipal Courts are the first contact with the judicial system in New Jersey for most citizens. In the court year 2018, over 6.1 million cases were filed in the Municipal Courts of New Jersey.

This total represents 2,759,855 parking cases, 2,463,962 traffic-related cases, 468,994 disorderly/petty disorderly persons cases, 221,803 other non-criminal cases, and 184,155 indictable cases.

In the same year, 6,010 appeals were filed at the appellate division of the Superior Court. 6,624 appeals were decided, 9,672 motions were decided, 3,325 opinions were filed, and 153 opinions were published.

The 2018 court year also revealed that the New Jersey Supreme Court had 1,232 petitions for certification filed. 1,753 motions were filed, 1,752 motions were disposed of, 74 appeals argued, and 65 opinions filed.

Trial Court Filings: 2016-2018

2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Criminal Division 43,560 44,429 48,598 48,856 51,291
General Equity 5,332 6,034 6,955, 8,589 8,227
Civil Division 75,864 487,311 78,012 519,004 554,711
Special Civil 416,246 399,223 371,264 406,310 451,798
Probate 6,208 6,233 6,446 6,371 6,245
Family Division 54,247 281,755 302,132 310,605 322,498
Total 601,457 1,224,985 813,407 1,299,735 1,394,770

Data provided by the New Jersey Judiciary

Trial Court Resolutions: 2016-2018

2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Criminal Division 44,968 49,287 48,900 48,737 51,498
General Equity 5,842 6,452 8,155 8,926 7,120
Civil Division 80,445 483,418 81,576 525,958 554,992
Special Civil 417,589 391,324 372,563 411,172 455,283
Probate 6,144 6,135 6,466 6,266 6,173
Family Division 54,950 284,122 301,996 315,234 321,973
Total 609,938 1,220,783 819,656 1,316,557 1,397,039

Data provided by the New Jersey Judiciary

Supreme Court Caseload Statistics: 2014-2018

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Petitions Filed 1,140 1,104 1,224 1,211 1,232
Petitions Granted 112 64 95 87 99
Appeals by Leave Granted 19 27 25 20
Motions Decided 1,549 1,406 1,560 1,714 1,754
Appeals Argued 90 104 82 101 74
Opinions Filed 75 102 74 68 65
Motions for Direct Certification Granted 2 2 1 2 2ss

Data provided by the New Jersey Judiciary

Appellate Division Of The Superior Court Caseload Statistics: 2014-2018

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Published Opinions 138 155 152 138 153
Opinions Filed 3,260 3,161 3,212 3,359 3,325
Motions Decided 10,198 10,074 9,726 9,382 9,672
Appeals Filed 6,155 5,767 5,608 5,639 6,010
Appeals Decided 6,132 6,050 5,956 6,095 6,624

Data provided by the New Jersey Judiciary

Tax Court Caseload Statistics: 2014-2018

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Docketed 18,962 16,173 14,654 13,260 14,316
Resolved 15,757 20,720 18,092 17,567 13,782
Open 47,207 42,662 34,224 34,914 35,427

Data provided by the New Jersey Judiciary