What Are Some Ways to Search Public Records Using Court Case Numbers?

Many state and local court websites feature a tool to search cases by case number on the main page, while some feature a tab or link called Online Services or Site Map that leads to a search tool. NCSC.org features links to many state and local courts that provide these services. While online access to most federal court case information requires sign-in and payment of fees at PACER.gov, Supreme Court cases are searchable by docket number without sign-in at SupremeCourt.gov.

At NCSC.org, hover the mouse over the Information and Resources tab near the top-left corner of the main page, and then hover over the Browse by State link in the drop-down menu and click the Court Web Sites link in the pop-up window. The website then displays a list of links to courts that offer public Internet access, categorized by state.

Federal courts also allow people to search for records by case number in person or by telephone. PACER.gov provides addresses and phone numbers for federal courts. All bankruptcy courts allow people to access case information by telephone via the Voice Case Information System. PACER.gov features a list of VCIS phone numbers for these courts. To access records for cases created before 1999, click the Federal Records Center link near the bottom of the main page at Archives.gov for access to instructions and forms.