Michigan Court Records
Michigan court records are provided to the public in a joint effort between the court system and Library of Michigan. Most of these records are available online, and are all considered public unless they involve a minor or contain identity-sensitive information.
Case decisions and records often include transcripts of testimony, court hearings and written opinions from justices and judges. Exhibits offered in court as evidence and current case disposition are also frequently of interest. Divorce records are commonly requested civil records, as parties involved often have to prove marital status when remarrying or reestablishing their identities.
Court forms and rules available from the Library of Michigan are an invaluable resource for anyone planning to represent themselves in court. Procedures and timelines for common types of cases are outlined by the library in an effort to aid the public in navigating their way through the court system without the aid of an attorney.
History of Michigan Court Records
Michigan court records began to be created and maintained with the Supreme Court’s creation in 1805. At the time it was only a territory and not technically a state. Initially, justices were given life terms, but these were reduced to four years in 1823. In 1835, Michigan’s constitution determined that justices would be appointed by the governor and hold seven-year terms. It also stated the court’s original and appellate jurisdiction covered common law and equity cases, quo warranto, habeas corpus, writs of certiorari and circuit court decisions.
The Library of Michigan was created in 1828 by the legislature. At the time, the library was charged with the responsibility to collect and store documents from the government and judicial branches. The library is physically located in Lansing, but offers access to court records online as well.
Michigan Court Records Availability
The Library of Michigan offers access to legal publications, legislative actions, court decisions, law reviews and historical documents. Copies of Michigan statutes and the federal constitution are also located here.
The Michigan court system offers access to criminal and civil court records online when searching by docket number, party name, attorney name or court where original hearing took place. Small claims, divorce records and probate cases can also be found online when searching for Michigan court records.
Main Court Information
The Michigan Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort, and is housed in Lansing at the Michigan Hall of Justice. Seven justices serve the court in eight-year terms. This court hears criminal and civil appeals from the Michigan Court of Appeals. Justices meet to determine cases from August through July.
Michigan’s Supreme Court averages almost 2,000 cases per year. In 2007 there were 2,612 filings and 2,625 dispositions. In 2013 there were 1,884 filings and 1,789 dispositions.