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Where to Find Connecticut Civil Court Records

The State of Connecticut generates civil court records in the civil division, family division and juvenile matters division of the Connecticut Superior Court. These records are documents and transcripts detailing all testimonies, evidence, pleadings, orders, petitions, etc. that took place during a civil court hearing or trial. Members of the public can access civil court records directly from the courts through the Connecticut Judicial website and also via third-party amalgamation sites such as

Are Connecticut Civil Court Records Public?

The Connecticut Freedom of Information Act states that all government information and records are available to the public unless made confidential. The Connecticut Supreme Court has also affirmed that the presumption of openness stated in Section 42-49A of the Connecticut practice book applies to all judicial documents. This means that any document filed that in the state's civil court is considered a public record. However, some of these documents may be sealed or restricted from public access if the court proves that sealing is essential to preserve compelling interests and that sealing all or part of the records is tailored to serve and protect those interests.

Types of Cases in Connecticut Civil Courts

In Connecticut, the Superior Court is the trial court of general jurisdiction responsible for handling most civil cases in the state. There are 8 major case types handled by this court and they include:

  • Administrative appeals; taxation, zoning, workers compensation, and labor relations
  • Contracts disputes
  • Eminent domain
  • Property including foreclosure and partition
  • Tort claims such as product liability, medical and legal malpractice, assault and battery
  • Vehicular torts
  • Wills including probate appeals, construction of wills, etc.
  • Estates and trusts cases
  • Others including civil and foreign protection order, housing civil matter, injunction, landlord-tenant disputes and small claims
  • Bankruptcy

What is the Difference Between Criminal Cases and Civil Cases in Connecticut?

Civil cases and criminal cases in Connecticut mostly differ based on the intent and penalty of each case. While the state's civil courts hear cases in which a defendant is being sued to protect civil, personal, or property rights, the criminal division hears cases where the state prosecutes an individual for breaking the law.

In most civil cases, the plaintiff (the accusing party) simply wants to recover damages from the defendant. In contrast, criminal cases seek to punish an individual for committing crimes against society at large.

Generally, civil cases involve legal disputes of non-violent nature, in which the plaintiff simply looks to be compensated for failed obligations, damages, or injuries suffered. The defendant in civil cases is only made to pay damages or forced by the court to perform certain obligations. Criminal cases, on the other hand, involve acts prohibited by state laws, usually violent and punishable by probation, imprisonment, or fines.

How Do I Find Civil Court Records In Connecticut?

Generally, civil court records generated by the state courts are held and maintained by the various superior court clerks. All requests for civil court records must be directed to the applicable clerk's office. To request a civil case transcript, write and submit a request to the court reporter or the clerk of the court where the case was handled. The written request must feature the following details:

  • The case name or caption
  • The docket number
  • The judge's name
  • Where the case was heard
  • The date the case was filed
  • Inquirer's name, address and telephone number
  • Brief description of the proceeding for which the transcript is being requested, e.g., the court order or witness testimony

The inquirer may call ahead for a cost and delivery estimate. The superior court provides more information on how to acquire transcripts of court proceedings on its judicial website. Use the courthouse directory provided by the state's judiciary to find the physical addresses, phone contacts, and directions to all civil courthouses in the state. Records may also be requested by sending an email to or by calling the Centralized Service Unit at (860) 263-2750.

All email requests for files must include case name or caption and docket number. When files are ready, they may be sent by email (if the file size permits) or in person from the court or the Centralized Services Unit. Note that copy and certification fees apply for physical pick-ups. Also, a valid proof of identification may be required.

How Do I Find Civil Court Records Online?

Generally, the State Judicial website allows inquirers to inspect and request records online via the Case-lookup feature. This feature allows inquirers to search for court records across the various civil courts in the state. Inquirers may run searches by case name, party name, attorney information, law firm's name, Juris number, and docket number, if the trial court docket number is known. It is also possible to run searches by property name if the case of interest is a property case.

Generally, there are 2 kinds of courts in Connecticut: state and federal. The federal courts are divided into the District Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. Records of civil cases heard in these courts can also be accessed electronically or online via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. Note that users must have a registered PACER account to use this service.

What Is Included In a Connecticut Civil Court Record?

The details included in a Connecticut civil record depends on the type or nature of the civil case. Generally, they may include:

  • The complaint, with amendments or substitutes, made throughout the case
  • Orders of notice, appearances and officers' returns
  • Military or other affidavits
  • Cross-complaints and third-party complaints along with all amendments made in the course of the case.
  • Responsive pleadings
  • Memorandum of decision
  • Judgment file or notation of the entry of judgment
  • Executions issued and returned

How to Access Connecticut Civil Court Records For Free

All records maintained on the state judiciary's electronic access - case-lookup and law library are available to the public for free. Also, courthouse visitors can use the public self-service station at no cost. However, nominal fees may be required if copies are required. Those that are eligible may apply to have the search and copy fees waived. Waiver forms for family cases differ from the waiver forms for housing, small claims, and other civil cases; hence, the inquirer should be careful to have the right forms filled out. These forms are also downloadable from the judicial website and available at the court location.

How to Seal Civil Court Records in Connecticut

Certain documents and civil court files are permitted to be sealed by section 11-20-f the Connecticut practice book. The judicial authority may order certain records to be sealed if a conclusion is made that it is necessary to preserve an interest that overrides that of the public.

To seal a civil court record, the individual must file a motion with the court or simply fill a petition form provided on the state judicial website. All parties in the case will be notified of the motion, the court reviews the petition, and a hearing will be scheduled. At the hearing, the judge will examine all provided reasons to determine whether or not sealing the record will harm any party involved in the case. Also, the evidence and testimonies provided must prove that sealing the record is necessary to preserve an interest that overrides the public interest in accessing the record. However, even if all the criteria are met to have the records sealed, the court is mandated by law to consider all possible alternatives to closure.

If the court chooses to grant the order, the overriding interest being protected must be identified, and other findings that support the order should be specified, docketed, and posted online/on the clerk's bulletin board. The order will be effective within 72 hours after it has been granted.

How to Access Sealed Civil Court Records in Connecticut

Generally, members of the public are not allowed access to sealed civil court records. However, anyone affected by the order could appeal the order to the state's court of appeals within seventy-two hours after it has been granted or taken effect. Filing an appeal places the closure order on hold until all the details are reviewed once again. Access can only be granted if the judicial authority acknowledges that the interests of the parties involved and the public are being protected by granting access.

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