Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records
How do Alabama Courts work?
The Supreme Court acts as the highest legal authority in the state of Alabama. It therefore has the ability to review any decision made by the Court of Appeals, allowing it to weigh in on important legal questions, precedents, and conflicts. The Court of Appeals then carries out a similar function over the lower courts in the state, but only when one party chooses to contest a decision. These lower courts are made up of the 67 superior and trial courts across the 67 counties.
Civil Cases and Small Claims
Civil courts and small claims courts in the state of Alabama are very different, and deal with varying cases, with varying amounts of money on the line. For instance, the civil court in Alabama deals with cases in which the petitioner is seeking over $250,000. There are nearly 200,000 of these cases per year across the state. However, the court can also deal with non-monetary cases, such as disputes over name changes, property, and restraining orders. In comparison, small claims courts deal with cases in which the petitioner is looking for a value under $3,000. There are also nearly 200,000 of these cases each year in Alabama. These can range from anything like disputes over loans and warranties to deposits, repairs, and a whole lot more. The small claims court also has the power to order a defendant into an action, such as paying an amount owed.
Appeals and court limits
The appeals processes and the court limits also differ from small claims court to civil court in the state of Alabama. For example, pre-trial discovery is not allowed in small claims court, although it is in civil court. Civil court also allows a person to hire a lawyer to represent them or file papers on their behalf, while neither of these things are permitted in a small claims court. Only the defendant can contest a decision made in small claims court, while either party may appeal a decision in civil court. Small claims come with them a filing fee of between $30 and $100, after which point each party is given 30-70 days to complete these case. On the other hand, civil court claims have a filing fee of between $180 and $320, with each party being given up to 120 days to complete their case.
Why are court records public?
The Alabama Public Records Law was introduced in 1923, with the most recent changes coming in 2004. This law aims to ensure that the public can access all public records within the state. Any resident of Alabama can request and copy public records held by the state or local government, unless it is prohibited by law. This promotes a sense of transparency, as well as safeguarding the accountability of the government.
To access files:
Supreme Court of Alabama
300 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36104