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Where to Find New Hampshire Civil Court Records

In New Hampshire, the Circuit Court District Division located in the counties oversees civil cases. Files generated from civil lawsuits such as breach of contract, defamation, landlord and tenant disagreement, and other small claims, are known as civil court records. However, these records are preserved by the District Division where the case emerged, and are obtainable by interested persons upon request. Although civil court documents are regarded as public records, not all civil court records can be examined by residents of New Hampshire. NewhampshireCourtRecords.Us is another viable option to have access to New Hampshire civil court records.

Are New Hampshire Civil Court Records Public?

Keeping with the New Hampshire Right to Know Law, which guarantees public access to records created by governmental agencies, details civil proceedings, decree, and motion, are public records. However, some records are excluded from public views, including documents containing personal information, student records, financial/commercial information, and medical history. These exempted records are only obtainable by law enforcement agencies and by court order.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

Types of Cases in New Hampshire Civil Courts

In New Hampshire, the District Division of the Circuit Court attends to all criminal cases and civil cases in which the required compensation is no more than $25,000. Lawsuits where the cost of damages exceeds $25,000 are transferred to the Superior Court. Examples of civil cases assessed by the Circuit Court District Division include:

What is the Difference Between Criminal Cases and Civil Cases in New Hampshire?

Criminal cases are a result of wrongdoings against the law, as indicated in the criminal laws of New Hampshire. Often, the jury determines the verdict after all possible evidence is presented. In a criminal case, the defendant has the right to an attorney, and the state is obligated to provide one if the offender cannot afford the charges of an attorney. Insurance coverage for criminal cases may be excluded for the intentional wrongful acts.

Private entities such as individuals and corporations over a disagreement file civil cases and the jury may only be involved in some cases. The accused person in a civil case can choose to be represented by themself or hire an attorney and bear the cost. Protections such as seizures or illegal searches do not apply to civil cases, but insurance coverage may be applicable.

How Do I Find Civil Court Records In New Hampshire?

Parties can obtain New Hampshire civil court records by request at the Clerk of District Court Office. The letter should be specific, giving information about the record being sought. According to the New Hampshire Right to Know Law, the court should fulfill requests for public records within five business days. However, New Hampshire civil court records will only be maintained by the court only a year after the case has been closed. After the one year retention period, the documents generated from civil cases will be passed on to the National Archives and Records Administration-Federal Records Center (NARA-FRC), where the records will be maintained for another 15 years. Nevertheless, these records can also be obtained at the National Archives. Once the 15 year period is over, NARA-FRC reserves the right to destroy some records or make the documents permanent.

Also, sealed records are usually not transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration-Federal Records Center but will be kept at the District Court Clerk's Office. Anyone who wishes to access a sealed civil court record will have to file a motion, highlighting the reasons to obtain such records.

How Do I Find Civil Court Records Online?

Online access to New Hampshire civil court records is granted through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER). Interested parties will have to create an account on the PACER website, and are required to provide some basic details about themselves. This medium can only be used to obtain documents from civil cases filed after June 1, 2004.

What Is Included In a New Hampshire Civil Court Record?

The documents and details incorporated in a civil action file in New Hampshire include:

  • Civil complaint by the plaintiff
  • Summons served to the defendant
  • The initial response of the defendant
  • The attorneys' contact information
  • Summary of facts
  • All pleadings
  • Transcripts of the court hearing
  • Dismissal notice (when the case is settled out of court)
  • Judgment or dismissal by the judge

How to Access New Hampshire Civil Court Records For Free

To view New Hampshire civil court records for free, interested individuals can visit the Clerk's Office to look up cases at the public terminal. Another to access civil court records at no cost is through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER). If, within three months, the charges are $30 or less, the search fees can be waived. If not, the user will have to pay.

How to Seal Civil Court Records in New Hampshire

Persons who want to seal civil court records in New Hampshire must submit a Motion to Seal to the court. The motion to seal must state the part of the record to be sealed, and also contain a detailed description of the record, to help in identifying the files. However, this process does not apply to Circuit Courts as it does not require the motion to seal. A motion to seal is a document used to request for nondisclosure of a filed document. A motion to fill can also be completed online using Electronic Case Filing. If the court approves of the motion to seal, then the record will be tagged confidential and will not be available to the general public.

How to Access Sealed Civil Court Records in New Hampshire

Generally, the public is not permitted to examine sealed records in New Hampshire due to the sensitive information contained in the files. Nonetheless, persons who wish to obtain confidential court records will have to file a motion to seek the permission of the participating parties and the Clerk of Court. Sealed civil court records in New Hampshire can only be viewed or copied and not taken away, unless the Clerk of Court permits it.

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