Delaware Court Records
Official recording of Delaware court records initially began in 1951, when the state’s supreme court was established. However, many proceedings actually took place before that year in an unofficial supreme court. Three county branches of the judicial law libraries allows for extensive access to Delaware court records to anyone who seeks access to them. The volumes and titles maintained there are constantly updated and also provide support to the judiciary and local legal professionals.
Delaware has a supreme court that hears appeals in one of three locations, depending upon the time of year. Annual caseloads can total in the several hundred, and resulting oral opinions are searchable online through the judicial law library.
History of Delaware Court Records
Delaware’s Supreme Court was established by a constitutional amendment in 1951. At that time, the court was allowed three justices, though that number was increased to five in 1978. In the years before the creation of the Delaware Supreme Court, three judges would hear appeals from the state’s lower courts, though they weren’t considered a separate official court at that time.
Delaware Court Records Availability
Delaware court records are largely available through the state’s Judicial Law Libraries, located in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties. The primary purpose of these branches is to assist justices and legal professionals in their research for cases and opinions, though they also offer services to the public. Civil and criminal court cases, local and state statutes, as well as statutes from other states and the federal government are all held here.
Historical archives are also maintained by the libraries, and offers forms and resources to any member of the public who wishes to represent themselves in a court case. Many of these Delaware court records can be requested in person or accessed online.
Main Court Information
The Supreme Court of Delaware hears appeals in Wilmington at The Renaissance Centre, Dover at the courthouse, and Georgetown at the Court of Chancery Courthouse. This court is the court of last resort in the state, exercising jurisdiction over appeals in criminal cases and civil cases. The judgments it examines come from the Court of Chancery, Superior Court and Family Court.
The Delaware Supreme Court also exercises discretionary jurisdiction over cases of writs of prohibition, certiorari, mandamus, certified questions and quo warranto. This means that if one of these types of cases is filed with them, the justices may choose to not hear the case if they so choose.
The caseload of Delaware’s Supreme Court usually hovers in the several hundred range per year. In 2007, there were 666 filings and 668 dispositions. In 2014, there were 716 filings and 696 dispositions. The highest caseload in recent years was in 2010, with 770 filings and 724 dispositions, and in 2013 there were only 661 filings and 712 dispositions.