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North Dakota Court Records

With the rise of technology and digital storage, there is ever-increasing accessibility to search for court records without a trip to the local law library or courthouse in person. The public and legal professionals use court records for a myriad of reasons, some for personal use such as searching the disposition of a criminal or civil case of a similar nature to the searcher, researching the history of a case before filing a new one, locating vital records, and even genealogical study.

North Dakota has a traditional court structure of a Supreme Court being the court of last resort, followed by a Court of Appeals, with District and Municipal Courts in several regions of the state. Each level of the judiciary system files motions and dispositions, later filed as court records.

North Dakota Court Records

History of North Dakota Courts

The Dakota Territory had its own Supreme Court, established in 1861 in the then-capital, Yankton. The early justices of the court were appointed at that time by the President of the United States Abraham Lincoln and later Ulysses S. Grant. When North Dakota was granted statehood in 1889, the state constitution named the Supreme Court the highest court of the state. It is located today in the capital city of Bismarck.

North Dakota Court Statistics

North Dakota Courts recieve 45,687 filings per year. In 2012, the court received 46,935 filings and gave 45,541 dispositions. In 2016, the state court caseload counted 45,090 filings and had 49,082 dispositions.

Total State Caseloads

Year Caseloads
2012 46,935
2013 45,910
2014 44,820
2015 45,679
2016 45,090

North Dakota Court Records Availability

It is possible to obtain criminal, civil, municipal, and traffic court records through an online search of the District Court by name, citation number or case number. In addition to online records, you may find the records in person at the office of the Clerk in the county where your case was filed.

Effective in 2001, legislature was passed for the Supreme Court to adopt new rules for the public access to court records. Administrative Rules 41 & 47 were established to protect the identity and security of persons mentioned in certain types of court cases such as juvenile court proceedings, mental health commitment, adoption and paternity, domestic violence protection order files, psychological evaluations and drug and alcohol treatment records are confidential under these rules.

Share of Court Type Incoming Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Domestic Relations: 13,134 (29.1 %)
Civil: 31,956 (70.9 %)

Share of Court Type Outgoing Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Domestic Relations: 13,194 (26.9 %)
Civil: 35,888 (73.1 %)

North Dakota Main Court Information

The North Dakota Supreme Court is staffed by a Chief Justice and four associate justices. It is the court of last resort in the state and hears appellate cases, oversees the interpretation of the state and federal Constitutions, and provides disciplinary action as necessary for judges and attorneys of North Dakota. The Court of Appeals, created in 1987, is also located in Bismarck and hears cases assigned to it by the Supreme Court.

The District Court is headquartered in Bismarck as well, but holds a divisional office in Fargo and two satellite offices: one in Minot and one in Grand Forks. This court has original and general jurisdiction in misdemeanor, felony, civil, and juvenile cases. There are 42 justices serving in the 52 counties which host District Courts.

Family Court Cases

Domestic relations caseload of North Dakota at year end 2016 has decreased by 1.1% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases was 13,272 with a rate of 1,897 cases per 100,000 population, higher than it's in 2016.

Year Domestic Relations Caseload Total Statewide Caseload
2012 13,272 46,935
2013 13,157 45,910
2014 12,716 44,820
2015 13,215 45,679
2016 13,134 45,090

Domestic Relations Clearance Rates

Year Incoming Caseload Outgoing Caseload Caseload per 100,000 Population
2012 13,272 13,030 1,897
2013 13,157 13,213 1,819
2014 12,716 12,841 1,720
2015 13,215 12,852 1,746
2016 13,134 13,194 1,733

States with More & Less Domestic Relation Caseloads than North Dakota

More Domestic Relations Cases than North Dakota:

State: Caseload:
New York 570,709
Texas 397,468
California 388,903
Pennsylvania 342,163
Virginia 342,040

Less Domestic Relations Cases than North Dakota:

State: Caseload:
District of Columbia 12,715
Alaska 12,562
Vermont 12,170
Wyoming 9,361
Rhode Island 9,335

North Dakota Caseload Statistics

The North Dakota Supreme Court considered 459 filings in the year 2014, of these, 390 cases were moved to disposition. From 2007 – 2014 the caseload has been fairly consistent with 2012 being the busiest year with 442 filings and 477 dispositions.

North Dakota Criminal Caseloads

The number of criminal cases in North Dakota counts 13,391.

Year Criminal Caseload Misdemeanor Caseload Felony Caseload

State Civil Caseload & Clearance Rates

In the last 5 years the number of civil cases has decreased by 1,707 cases, it went from 33,663 to 31,956 with clearance rates of 97% and 112%.

Year Civil Caseload Clearance Rate
2012 33,663 97
2013 32,753 97
2014 32,104 97
2015 32,464 97
2016 31,956 112