Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records
How do Arizona Courts work?
The Supreme Court is the highest legal authority in Arizona, and resides over the decisions made by the Court of Appeals. This allows the Supreme Court to weight in on debates, conflicts, and precedents. In turn, the Court of Appeals exists to look over the decisions made by inferior courts after a party contests. These lower courts would be one of the 15 Superior or Trial Courts across the 15 Arizona counties. There were 1,258,302 cases filed in Arizona district courts in 2017.
Civil Cases and Small Claims
There are number of differences between cases dealt with by civil court and those dealt with by small claims court. Civil court deals with petitions over the amount of $250,000, of which there are around 200,000 cases filed annually. However, the civil court can also handle non-monetary disputes, such as name changes, restraining orders, and property disputes. On the other hand, the small claims courts deal with cases in which a petitioner is looking for $3,500 or less, of which there are around 50,000 cases per year. These can include disputes over loans, repairs, warranties, deposits, and more. The small claims court can also order the defendant to pay a fee.
Appeals and court limits
There are also key differences in how the appeals process and court limits work for both civil cases and small claims. In civil cases, pretrial discovery is allowed, where as it is not in small claims court. Civil court also allows either party to appeal, instead of just the defendant in small claims cases. People are allowed a lawyer to represent them and file papers on their behalf in civil court, but not in small claims. In small claims court, it costs between $30 and $100 to file a case, and people are then given 30-70 days to complete it. In civil court, it costs between $180 and $320, and people are given up to 120 days.
Why are court records public?
The Arizona Public Records Law was passed in 1901, with the latest amendment coming in 1993. This act allows any member of the public in Arizona to access public records at any state level. The act states that it is the fundamental right of every Arizona resident to do so, which promotes openness and safeguards government accountability.
To request records:
Arizona Supreme Court
1501 W. Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Main Contact Number: (602) 452-3300
TDD (for the Hearing Impaired): (602) 452-3545