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Court Records FAQs

1. What does the term “court file” mean?
The term, court file, refers to the official record of the court and includes all the pleadings, exhibits, orders and word for word testimony that took place during the trial. (Not every court file contains each and every item cited herein.)
Members of the public have the right to see any document in any court file, unless a court has sealed the file, or statute has rendered the contents of the file confidential.

2. What information is contained in a court file pertaining to a criminal or motor vehicle matter?
The contents of a file depend on the nature of the case and the charges (see Connecticut Practice Book Section 7-13 for more detailed information). The file’s contents may include, inter alia, the following documents:

  • executed arrest warrant;
  • original affidavit in support of probable cause;
  • summons and complaint;
  • infraction/violation complaint;
  • uniform arrest report (UAR);
  • information or indictment and any substitute information;
  • written plea of nolo contendere;
  • documents relating to programs for:
    a) Youthful Offender (Y.O.)
    b) Accelerated Rehabilitation (A.R.)
    c) Alcohol Education Program (A.E.P.)
    d) Drug Education Program
    e) Family Violence Education Program
    f) determination of competency to stand trial or suspension of prosecution;
  • official receipts;
  • judgment mittimus;
  • notice of rights;
  • orders regarding probation; and,
  • transaction sheet.


3. What information is contained in a court file pertaining to a civil or family matter?
The contents of a civil or family file depend on the nature of the case and the allegations. The file’s contents may include the following documents:

  • The complaint, amendments to the complaint, a substituted complaint or an amended complaint;
  • Orders of notice, appearances and officers’ returns;
  • Military or other affidavits;
  • Cross complaints, third-party complaints and amendments;
  • Responsive pleadings;
  • Memorandum of decision;
  • Judgment file or notation of the entry of judgment and all modifications of judgment; and,
  • Executions issued and returned.

(Specific Connecticut statutes and court rules permit particular documents in a civil or criminal case to be sealed. This means that specific records cannot be inspected by members of the public except by order of the court.) See Connecticut Practice Book Sec. 11-20, 42-49, 25-29 and 35-5 for more detailed information.

4. How are court documents generally signed or verified electronically?
Documents issued by the State of Connecticut Superior Court may be signed or verified electronically in the manner prescribed by the E-Services Procedures and Technical Standards or the Electronic Juvenile After-Hours Take-Into-Custody Procedures and Technical Standards. Any document with such an electronic signature or verification has the same validity and status as a document with a physical (pen-to-paper) signature. A pen-to-paper signature does not always appear on a document, and the signer of the document will not always be a judge. For more information, see Section I.E. of the State of Connecticut Superior Court E-Services Procedures and Technical Standards, the Electronic Juvenile After-Hours Take-Into-Custody Procedures and Technical Standards, section 51-193c of the Connecticut General Statutes and Connecticut Practice Book Section 4-4.


Access to Records – Public, Sealed and Erased Records

5. Are records of juvenile matters open to the public?
Generally, all records of cases of juvenile matters are confidential. Certain exceptions apply. For example, the record of the case of a juvenile matter involving delinquency proceedings or any part thereof, shall be available to the victim of the crime committed by such child to the same extent as the record of the case of a defendant in a criminal proceeding in the regular criminal docket would be available. (See C.G.S. 46b-124).

6. What becomes unavailable to the public when a file is sealed by the court?
Only those portions of the file that the judge has ordered sealed. In the event of a partial sealing, certain information in the court file will continue to be available for public inspection.

7. When do sealed materials become available to the public and how will news professionals or members of the public know when a sealed file becomes disclosable?
Materials ordered sealed by the court are disclosable once the sealing order expires. News professionals or members of the public should make note of the date when the sealing order will expire. Please be aware that, in many cases, the information may not be disclosable at any point in the future.

8. What items are automatically sealed by statute?
Generally, communications and records of a party to the action between the following individuals are sealed:

  • psychologist and patient;
  • psychiatrist and patient;
  • battered women’s or sexual assault counselor and victim;
  • Judicial Branch employee and employee assistance program counselor;
  • physician, surgeon or health care provider and patient;
  • marital and family therapist and person consulting such therapist; and,
  • social worker and person consulting such social worker.


9. Is there an expedited process to review orders to seal court documents?
Yes, anyone impacted by court orders to seal or limit disclosure of materials on file in connection with a court proceeding may petition the appellate court for review of that order within 72 hours of its issuance, EXCEPT that the following types of matters will not be reviewed:

  • orders under the family matters or search warrant statutes;
  • any statutory provision authorizing the court to seal or limit disclosure of materials at a pretrial or trial stage; or,
  • a court rule that seals or limits disclosure of affidavits in support of arrest warrants.

(Please refer to C.G.S. 51-164x for more information.)

10. When must court records be erased?
Generally, police, court and prosecutorial records must be erased when:

  • More than 20 days have elapsed after a defendant is acquitted or the dismissal of a criminal case, unless an appeal is taken, or 13 months have elapsed after a nolle is entered;
  • A defendant is granted an absolute pardon;
  • The offense for which the defendant was convicted is later decriminalized; or,
  • The matter pertains to a person who has been adjudicated a youthful offender and has been discharged from the supervision of the court.

11. Under what circumstances would a clerk respond that there is no public record of a case?
Generally, where:

  • A criminal case was dismissed more than 20 days ago;
  • A nolle was entered more than 13 months ago;
  • More than 20 days ago, the case either ended in a finding of not guilty or a judgment of acquittal; or
  • The records of a case have been erased.

In the event of a file sealed by court order, the clerk may acknowledge the existence of such a file, but indicate it as being sealed.


Services – Obtaining Information and Court-Related Documents

12. How can I obtain copies of disposed Superior Court records?

13. How do I order a transcript of a court hearing?
Requests for written transcripts of any court proceeding must be made in writing and submitted to the Court Reporter’s Office at the judicial district where the case was heard. E-mailed orders cannot be accepted. The letter must include:

  • the case name (or caption)
  • the docket number
  • the judge’s name
  • where the case was heard
  • the date(s) the case was heard
  • your name, address and telephone number
  • brief description of the proceeding (or section of the proceeding) you are ordering (for example, the testimony of a specific witness, the court’s order, etc.)

If you would like a cost estimate and/or the projected delivery date before your transcript request is processed, please state this in your letter. For more information about ordering transcripts, view the publication “Procedures for Ordering A Court Transcript” in PDF format.


14. How do I get a copy of my divorce decree (or other document filed in my divorce case)?
A copy of a document filed in your divorce case can generally be obtained from the Judicial District Clerk’s Office in the court location where the divorce took place. Your divorce decree is referred to as the “Judgment File.” The Clerk’s Office will need your case name and docket number (the number that was assigned to the case), and there are fees for copying and certifying. Judgment Files have a flat fee, other documents have a per page copying fee with a certification fee, if needed.

15. How do I make a request for a criminal or motor vehicle record search?
Requests for criminal or motor vehicle record searches should initially be made in writing at the geographical area court location where the arrest occurred. The name and date of birth and, if possible, the date of arrest or disposition should be included in any request for a record search. Please note that the search will be limited to records at the requested court location. 

16. How do I obtain statistical information on Superior Court cases?
Statistical information on Superior Court cases may be obtained from the Performance Management, Quality Assurance and Judicial Branch Statistics Unit at (860) 263-2746.

17. How do I obtain information concerning the Judicial Branch, its programs or its policies?
For information concerning the Judicial Branch, its programs, its policies, or for assistance in obtaining information about a specific case, please contact the External Affairs Division of the Connecticut Judicial Branch at (860) 757-2270.

18. How do I obtain case specific information or access to a court record?
For case specific information or access to court records, please contact the court clerk’s office in the geographical area, housing session, judicial district, small claims or juvenile matters court where the case was filed.

19. What are the fees for obtaining copies?

Transcript charges
(Effective July 1, 2019 per PA19-64)

$3.00 per page (in the event it was produced previously, the copy rate is $1.75 per page)

$2.00 per page for state officials and other entities listed in C.G.S. �51-63(c), (in the event it was produced previously, copy rate is $.75 per page

There are additional charges for expedited transcripts.

Court records/documents: $1.00 per page

Administrative records: $ .25 per page

Access Guidelines

20. Access Guidelines to Court Records