New Hampshire Court Records
What are New Hampshire Bankruptcy Records?
New Hampshire bankruptcy records refer to paper and electronic documents generated during bankruptcy proceedings in the state. Bankruptcy is a legal process involving a person or business that is incapable of paying off outstanding debts. Bankruptcy records contain various information explaining how assets will be liquidated, debts will be discharged, and creditors will be repaid. These records are federal records maintained by the New Hampshire Bankruptcy Court. The clerk of the court is in charge of releasing bankruptcy records filed within the court’s jurisdiction to interested parties. New Hampshire bankruptcy records are also maintained by certain independent aggregate sites such as CourtRecords.us.
What do New Hampshire Bankruptcy Court Records Contain?
In New Hampshire, bankruptcy records contain all details of pending, ongoing, and closed bankruptcy cases. These can include general case information such as the name of the debtor, name of the creditor, case number, debtor’s county of residence, and last four digits of debtor’s social security number.
Bankruptcy court records also feature trustee information. A trustee is an officer appointed by the Department of Justice’s Trustee Program to represent the debtor’s estate in the court case. Bankruptcy filings in New Hampshire fall under one of many chapters of the Bankruptcy Code including Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 deals with liquidation of assets, chapter 11 involves individual or company reorganizations, while Chapter 13 allows for lowered debt covenants and specific repayment plans. Bankruptcy court records contain the chapter under which the case was filed.
Ongoing bankruptcy cases are either discharged or dismissed. The bankruptcy case file contains the sequence of events that led to the court’s decision. The record also features information on how creditors in the case will get relief.
Are Bankruptcy Records Public Information in New Hampshire?
Yes, bankruptcy records are public information in New Hampshire. The Federal Records Act and Freedom of Information Act give members of the public the right to access, inspect, and copy bankruptcy records maintained by the New Hampshire Bankruptcy Court. These records are also available on other public platforms including local newspapers. In practice, there is a strong presumption and public policy in favor of public access to bankruptcy court records. This is because unrestricted access to public records fosters confidence among creditors regarding the fairness of the bankruptcy court system. Even then, access to bankruptcy records is not entirely unrestricted. The court excludes sensitive information that can potentially harm debtors and creditors from the public eyes. Some of such information include:
- Trade secrets, confidential research materials, and certain commercial information
- Details of scandalous and defamatory dealings
- Personal and financial information including complete social security number, bank account numbers, passwords, pins, and identification numbers
- Identity of minors
- Records sealed by court order
- Records filed prior to 1996 (44 USC § 3303)
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.
How to Get New Hampshire Bankruptcy Records
To get New Hampshire bankruptcy records, interested persons are required to visit, mail, or search the online resources provided by the United State Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Hampshire. This bankruptcy court stores bankruptcy records filed within the jurisdiction of the state. The court authorizes the office of the clerk of the court to process all record requests. In Newhampshire, bankruptcy records may be accessed in the following ways.
- Using available online resources (managed by courts or third party websites)
- By making in-person requests to the record custodian
- By sending written requests to the office of the clerk of courts
How to Get New Hampshire Bankruptcy Court Records In Person
Step 1: Identify the Right Court
The New Hampshire Bankruptcy Court and the state’s federal District Court share the same location in Concord. These courts have different judges and clerks. Requesters are required to visit the particular court clerk, in this case—the bankruptcy court clerk. To access bankruptcy records in person, visit the applicable court at the address below.
Warren B. Rudman U.S. Courthouse
55 Pleasant Street, Room 200
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: (603) 222–2600
Fax: (603) 222–2697
Step 2: Collect Relevant information and Visit the Appropriate Courthouse
Requesters are required to provide the details needed to locate the records of interest. Such information may include case number, debtor’s names, case status, and closing date. Those who do not have this information may access it via the Voice Court Information System (VCIS) by dialing (866) 222–8029. The system lets requesters to call-in and access various case information. Such information may include:
- Case number
- Names of the debtor(s)
- Last four digits of the debtor’s social security number or tax ID number
- Case type—whether voluntary or involuntary
- Chapter of filing
- The date the case was filed or reopened (if applicable)
- The date the chapter was converted (if applicable)
- The trustee assigned to the case
- The debtor’s attorney and phone number
- The judge assigned to the case
- The name of the business and consumer
- Asset status
- Case status
- Date and time of creditor’s first meeting
- Date of case disposition
- Date of discharge, if one exists
While the VCIS is free of charge and accessible to everyone, callers must provide the name, case number, or social security attached to the case of interest. After dialing the toll-free number, callers are required to say “New Hampshire” before proceeding to say or press 2 for case number search, 3 for a name search, and 4 for social security number search.
The VCIS is readily available except during the weekly maintenance period every Monday morning (7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m). All questions and concerns about the New Hampshire VCIS should be directed to the clerk’s office at (603) 222–2600.
After getting the case number, case name, and other information required to access bankruptcy court records, requesters should visit the courthouse in Concord to make official requests. Courthouse visitors must not request to view or copy bankruptcy records from the clerk’s office directly. There are alternative public access terminals in the building where visitors can self-serve and access these records themselves. While these records are free to view, copies are charged at a rate of 10 cents per page.
Still at the courthouse, visitors who want certified/exemplified copies may forgo the computer terminals and proceed directly to the clerk’s office to submit their requests. This office is open on weekdays during business hours except on holidays.
Note: Before visiting the courthouse, be prepared for security for security checks and ID assessments. Acceptable IDs include those that are issued by the state or federal government. School IDs are also allowed.
Step 3: Pay the Required Fees and Collect the Record of Interest
The clerk charges 50 cents/page for uncertified copies of bankruptcy records and $11 for certified copies of the same documents. Exemplified copies cost $22 per document. Also, CD/Tape reproduction of recordings and proceedings is $31 each. Acceptable payments can include cashier’s checks or money orders payable to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. It is recommended to contact the clerk beforehand to determine other accepted payment methods.
How to Get New Hampshire Bankruptcy Records by Mail
To request bankruptcy records by mail in New Hampshire, requesters are required to provide written requests. A properly prepared request must include the case number, case name, and other important information needed to locate the record of interest. Such information can be retrieved from the VCIS by calling (866) 222–8029. Certain information including the case number, name, or social security number of participants is needed to use the automated voice system.
After preparing the written request,the requester should send it along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and appropriate fees to the courthouse post address. Usually, a photocopy of the requester’s valid ID is requested for certified and exemplified documents.
The fee schedule typically includes a mandatory $31 search fee and other associated fees. The associated fees are copy fee (50 cents/page), certification fee ($11/document), and exemplification fee ($22/document). Acceptable payment methods include money orders and cashier’s checks made out to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. It is recommended to speak to the clerk at (603) 222–2600 to be sure the request and payment is appropriate. The court’s mailing address is:
US Bankruptcy Court
District of New Hampshire
Warren B. Rudman U.S. Courthouse
55 Pleasant Street, Room 200
Concord, NH 03301–3941
How to Get New Hampshire Bankruptcy Records Online
New Hampshire residents can remotely view and copy bankruptcy records through the PACER website. PACER is an acronym for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. This system provides online nationwide access to federal records generated in the U.S. District, Appellate, and Bankruptcy court records. Users are required to register an account and billing information before access can be granted. PACER sign-up difficulties should be directed to the court at (800) 676–6856 Ext. 222. Also, to determine if a party is involved in a bankruptcy litigation, users should use the Pacer Case Locator.
Docket entries of New Hampshire Bankruptcy Court cases are available on the CM/ECF (Case Management/Electronic Case Files). Users need a PACER login and password to view court documents using this system. Typically, CM/ECF is configured to offer an RSS feed option which provides a list of docket entries filed during the last 24 hours on bankruptcy cases. As such, users may decide to subscribe to the RSS feed and view the available list of data free of charge. Clicking on a hyperlink to view the case docket or actual document will prompt the user to log in to PACER. It is important to note that doing this will attract the standard PACER fees. For questions and concerns, contact the CM/ECF Helpdesk at (603) 222–2625 or (866) 252–6323 (toll-free).
Users may consult the PACER fee schedule to determine the actual payment applicable to their record searches and requests.
How do I Find Out if My Bankruptcy Case is Closed in New Hampshire
Requesters can easily dial the VCIS at (866) 222–8029 to find out whether or not a bankruptcy case is closed in New Hampshire. Calling this toll-free number enables callers with relevant information such as the case name, case number, or social security number to access the status of the specific case of interest.
Those seeking to know the status of a bankruptcy case in New Hampshire may also take a trip to the courthouse in Concord to use the public access terminal or query the court clerk directly.
How to Get Closed Bankruptcy Court Records in New Hampshire
Interested members of the public can retrieve closed bankruptcy court records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). This administration stores boxes of bankruptcy cases filed in New Hampshire and other states in the U.S. To get a record from NARA, requesters should first visit the Bankruptcy Courthouse in Concord and obtain the case’s Federal Records Center information. Of great importance is the case’s transfer (accession) number, location number, box number, as well as case information. Note that the clerk may require a search fee before the requested information is released. Upon receiving the stated information, requesters may then complete and submit the NARA Bankruptcy Case Request Form along with applicable fees. The first box of archived case files from NARA costs $64 and each additional box is charged at a rate of $39. In addition, other miscellanous charges may apply. For queries and concerns, requesters should contact the clerk of the New Hampshire Bankruptcy Court.
Note that cases prior to 1996 are no longer accessible. This is because bankruptcy cases prior to 1996 have been destroyed in accordance with the 44 USC Section 3303.
Can a Bankruptcy be Expunged in New Hampshire?
In New Hampshire, bankruptcies cannot be expunged. This means that persons involved in bankruptcy cases are not eligible to destroy and treat their bankruptcy cases like they never existed. Chapter 7 bankruptcies stay on credit reports for seven years while chapter 13 filings stay for ten years. These reports are fully accessible to the public until they are removed.
Similarly, bankruptcy records maintained by the court are open to the public eyes. However, bankruptcy court records can be sealed by a court order. Those who can cite sufficient reasons why a bankruptcy is better off sealed than left in the public’s eyes can get their records sealed. Still, it is worthy to note that such sealing is not absolute. For instance, if a bankruptcy case is sealed at the level of the New Hampshire Bankruptcy Court, such sealing can be revoked by higher courts such as the U.S. District Court.
Per statute, bankruptcy records older than 15 years in storage are destoyed. In practice, destroyed bankruptcy records are those filed prior to 1996.