Georgia Court Records

Why Georgia Court Records are Available to the Public

Georgia’s State Legislature passed the Open Records Act in 1959, though it has seen several alterations to improve transparency since then. This law, which was last amended in 2012 with House Bill 397, gives Georgians and Americans the right to obtain, study, and utilize these public records to better understand and exercise their rights.

What Court Records Access Means To You?

Access to public records falls under the Georgia Open Meetings Act which legislates the methods by which public records are held and disclosed. The Georgia Open Records Act, colloquially known as the Georgia Sunshine Law, is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Georgia.

Accountability to the Public

When the legislature enacted the Georgia Open Records Act, it expressly declared that access to information on the conduct of the people’s and legislature’s actions is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in the state. This was done in the interest of promoting prompt public access to government records, as the law was intended to “safeguard the government’s accountability to the public.”

In 2015, the Center for Public Integrity ranked Georgia as the 24th most transparent state with a Grade of “D-”.

How the Georgia Court Process Functions?

Most cases in Georgia courts begin in one of the superior or trial courts in the state’s 159 counties.

The next level of judicial authority resides with the Court of Appeals. Most cases before the Court of Appeals involve the review of an inferior court decision being contested by a party involved in the case.

The Supreme Court serves as the highest court in the state with the authority to review decisions made by the Court of Appeals to settle important questions of law and to resolve conflicts within the Court of Appeals.

Some differences between Civil Court and Small Claims Court below

 Court

Small Claims

Civil

Appeal

Only the party who was sued (defendant) can file an appeal. The person who filed the claim (plaintiff) cannot appeal.

Either party can appeal.

Attorney Representation

You cannot have a lawyer file your papers or go to court with you – except during an appeal.

You can contact a lawyer to file your papers and go to court for you.

The filing fee for either the defendant or the plaintiff’s claim

$30 -$100 per claim

$180 - $320 per claim

Pretrial Discovery allowed

No

Yes

How long to complete your case

30-70 days after the complaint

120 days after you file the complaint

 

You do not need a U.S. citizenship to file or defend a case in small claims court. Those without a firm grasp on the English language may hire an interpreter, who in turn requests to represent the litigant for matters of communication. The court cannot offer you an interpreter.

You can find an interpreter by using the Georgia Courts Interpreter Search page.

How Georgia Court Records Are Structured?

Court records cover matters of civil and small claims courts.

Civil cases are where the petitioner is seeking more than $250,000. Nearly 200,000 unlimited civil court records filed with these courts annually. Civil cases also include other types of disputes that do not involve money, such as cases to resolve title ownership to physical property, cases asking for civil restraining orders, and name request changes.

  • Auto Torts
  • Other Personal Injury / Property
    Damage / Wrongful Death
  • Other Tort
  • Other Civil
  • Contracts
  • Real Property
  • Employment
  • Enforcement of Judgment
  • Unlawful Detainers
  • Judicial Review
  • Complex Litigation
  • Small Claims Appeals

Small Claims Court filings are cases where the petitioner is seeking $15,000 or less (Georgia allows for an unlimited amount in cases involving evictions) and is not represented by a counsel. Close to 200,000 small claims cases are filed statewide every year.

Here are some examples of common Small Claims Court case scenarios:

  • Your former landlord refuses to return the security deposit you paid.
  • Someone dents your fender and refuses to pay for the repairs.
  • Your new TV does not work, and the store will not fix it.
  • Your tenant caused damage to the apartment, and the repairs cost more than their security deposit (Note: You cannot use small claims court to evict someone.).
  • You lent money to a friend, and he/she refuses to pay you back.
  • Small Claims Court can also order a defendant to do something, as long as the claim is also seeking financial reimbursement. For example, the court can cancel a contract or the court can order your neighbor to either pay you for a loaned lawn mower or order them to return it immediately.

 

 

Georgia State Archives

State Archives

Results Include

Full State Record Report:

  • Name
  • Location
  • Case Number
  • Case Summary
  • Docket
  • Police Report
  • Court Documents
  • Legal Records
  • Case File
  • Statements
  • Transcripts
  • Legal Forms
  • Case Notes
  • Disposition
  • Trial Records
  • Arbitration
  • Case Evidence
  • Witnesses
  • Interviews
  • Descriptions
  • Mugshots
  • Charges
  • Legal Motions
  • Attorney Records
  • Prosecution Records
Georgia Fayette County Courthouse 1880

Georgia Fayette County Courthouse 1880

  • State Archives holds over 15,000 cubic feet of records.
  • There are 2 levels of Courts: trial and appellate.
  • There are 49 Judicial Circuits in the state of Georgia, each of which has a Superior Court consisting of local citizens numbering between two and 19 members depending on the circuit population
  • fundsnet_services_logo
  • ProBono
  • Sober Living America
  • NGeorgia