Utah Court Records
How do Utah Courts work?
The Supreme Court is the highest legal authority across the state of Utah. It also has the ability to check any decisions made by the Court of Appeals, allowing the Supreme Court to weigh in on any important legal debates, conflicts, or precedents. In turn, the Court of Appeals carries out a very similar function with the lower courts, but only when one party decides to contest a decision made. These lower courts are made up of the 29 superior or trial courts across the state’s 29 counties. Other tiers of court in Utah include District Courts, Juvenile Courts, and Justice Courts.
Civil Cases and Small Claims
There are a number of differences between civil court and small claims court, and the cases that are heard in each one. For example, the civil court in Utah deals with cases in which petitioners are looking for over $250,000. There are just under 175,000 of these cases each and every year across Utah. Civil court can also deal with other types of non-monetary cases, including disputes over name changes, restraining orders, and property. On the other hand, small claims court, obviously, deals with smaller claims of up to $7,500. There are nearly 150,000 of these cases across Utah every single year. They can be made up of disputes over loans, warranties, deposits, repairs, and much more, as long as the total money sought does not exceed $7,500. Small claims court also has the power to order the defendant into an action, such as paying back an amount of money.
Appeals and court limits
There are also a number of differences between the appeals processes and the court limits in Utah civil and small claims courts. Pretrial discovery is only allowed in civil cases, and not small claims matters. Either party can appeal a decision made in civil court, but only the defendant/sued party can appeal a decision in small claims cases. A person may hire a lawyer to represent them and file papers on their behalf in civil court, but neither of these things are allowed in small claims court. Small claims court has a filing fee of between $30 and $100 per claim, and each party is then given 30-70 days to complete their respective case. On the other hand, civil court claims have a filing fee of between $180 and $320, with each party given up to 120 days to complete their case.
Why are court records public?
The Utah Government Records Access and Management Act was passed in 1991, with the most recent changes coming in 1997. This act was brought in to ensure all residents of the state could access public records if they so wished. All records held by the local and state government could be accessed and copied, proving another law did not prohibit it. By promoting public access, it also promoted a sense of transparency and safeguarded government accountability.
To access records:
450 South State
P. O. Box 140210
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-0210
Justices' Reception: 801-238-7967