How Do You Search for a Docket Number?


Quick Answer

Generally, a search in an online database using the names of the parties to the case pulls up associated docket numbers, according to Berkeley Law Library. The specific process for locating a court case docket number depends on the procedures adopted by the court where the case was filed.

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How Do You Search for a Docket Number?
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Full Answer

A docket number is like a Social Security number for documents filed in court cases. It acts as a unique identifier so all of the paperwork related to a case can be retrieved in sequential order. A docket sheet is a chronological summary of documents with docket numbers associated with a specific case, explains Berkeley Law Library.

To find a docket number associated with a case, a researcher must know what court the case was filed in and some basic identifying information, such as the name of a party to the case or the date the case was filed. Many court systems maintain an Internet database the public can use to search for docket numbers, notes Berkeley Law Library. For example, the federal court system maintains the Public Access to Court Electronic Records website, also known as PACER, that lets the public search federal court records.

Researchers looking for docket numbers associated with state cases may find that state courts maintain online databases that make finding docket numbers fairly simple, states LegalZoom. Alternatively, most states allow the public to contact the clerk of the court in person or by phone to conduct a docket number search.

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