Utah Court Records
Utah has a traditional court structure with a Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, District Courts, Juvenile Courts, and Justice Courts. Each branch of the judicial system requires documentation of court proceedings; these are later turned into publicly accessible court records.
Because of the rising capability of the digital storage and accessibility of the Internet, Utah court records are more readily available than they ever have been. This comes as a relief to the public and law professionals who would formerly have to appear in person at the state law library or courthouse of record to obtain court documents. Whether these documents are used as research for a new case or for genealogists to piece family histories together using vital records, court records are a useful resource of the state.
History of Utah Court Records
The first official court system of Utah was created while it was still a territory in 1850. It was comprised of a Supreme Court, three District Courts and local Justices of the Peace. In 1894 the territorial courts were pronounced State Courts after Utah joined the United States officially in 1896.
As the caseload of the Supreme Court became heavier, the judicial system adjusted again in 1987 to add the Court of Appeals to handle appellate cases from the Juvenile and District Courts.
Utah Court Records Availability
Utah court records are highly available online and organized by non-public records, appellate docket search, appellate court records, district court records, archived court records, digital recordings, and weekly case reports. The appellate court opinions are separated into the Supreme Court category and Court of Appeals category.
Main Court Information
The Supreme Court is Utah’s court of last resort and is responsible for cases involving interpretation of the state and federal constitution and disciplining attorneys and admitting to the Bar. The Supreme Court is presided over by a Chief Justice, elected by the other 4 associate justices who serve alongside in the highest court of the land; each justice is elected for a term of 10 years.
In 1987 the Court of Appeals was established to provide an intermediate level of appellate jurisdiction to ease the caseload of the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals presides over all appellate cases from District and Juvenile Courts and considers appeals from certain state agencies.
Utah consists of 8 judicial districts with 71 full-time justices serving on the Utah District Courts, responsible for trial and original jurisdiction of civil and criminal cases of the state. The Utah Juvenile Courts specifically handle cases with minors who have violated the laws of a municipality, the state of Utah, or the nation. Lastly, Utah Justice Courts serve to handle cases of small claims, violation of ordinances, and class B or C misdemeanors.
The Supreme Court of Utah oversaw 526 filings and a low number of dispositions, 232, for the year 2014. The caseload for filings and dispositions is typically closer to an average of 600 annually.