TN Court Records
Accessing Tennessee Court Records
Court records are maintained for future reference and are also available for public viewing. You may want to access the court record for various reasons. And luckily, when you make the application, the record will be sent to you, as well. There are a few restrictions though. Court records are valuable documents that can provide a lot of information in many situations.
Let us assume that you want to get into a business partnership with an individual or company. You might want to do some checking here because the public records can reveal a lot about the person or company. The records can show whether the person has a clean background or not, whether there are any lawsuits against the company and whether the company or the people behind it have been associated with any criminal activity or not. With this information, you can decide whether you can trust or not. If you find out anything inappropriate, you will definitely want to reconsider your decision about that association.
Here is another situation. Are you thinking about changing your job and joining a company about which you do not have adequate information? You may check public records for learning whether the people or the company or the people behind it have ever been sued, and if yes, then you can learn about the final judgment.
Companies also carry out a background check on people before hiring so as to be sure that the hired person is not associated with any unlawful activity.
Information Contained in the Court Records
The courts can provide a lot of information on birth, death, marriage, divorce, police records, criminal records, army records, military records, business records, property records, and others.
Tennessee has 3 types of courts with limited jurisdiction, and 4 types of court that have general jurisdiction. The court you need to approach depends on the type of record that you need. It always helps, if you know something about the legal structure and how the system works.
Courts with general jurisdiction are the Circuit court, Probate court, Chancery court and the Criminal court. Courts with limited jurisdiction are the Sessions court, Municipal court and the Juvenile court. The Circuit court has jurisdiction over most civil and criminal cases.
Finding Tennessee Court Records
In the past accessing court records was difficult. You either had to have contacts, or needed to hire a good lawyer to get the records in Tennessee. But, now it is very easy to access these records. The state maintains all court records in a centralized system and is legally obliged to share the information with you when you request for it.
You may use the social security number of an individual to search for the record you need. However, if you do not know the number, you can still search for the record, but for this, you have to visit the state website or the public library.
You may request for the court record in any one of the following ways:
- You can approach the Clerk of the appropriate courthouse in person.
- You may call up the courthouse and place your request. For this service, you might have to pay a bit more.
- You may also visit the state's website to search for the record.
Tennessee Court Records
Access to Tennessee Court Dockets
Court proceedings are generally available and open to the public. To help facilitate public knowledge about the schedule of court proceedings, many courts will issue a docket or calendar of specific trials and hearings. The Tennessee Court System has made their court docket available online, where they publish regular calendars for the state Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Courts of Criminal Appeals, and Worker's Compensation Panels.
Tennessee Court Records Availability
The Tennessee Public Records Act has makes it a law to grant access to court records to the general public. That means all records that are labeled as "public" and not kept under court seal or listed as private information may be accessed via request directly with the court which has the record on file.
Is There a Charge for Viewing Tennessee Court Records?
Tennessee law prohibits any custodian of public records to charge a fee to view a requested record. However, a custodian may charge a copy and/or labor fee that is compliant with the law. Acceptable charges may include up to $0.15 per black and white copy, as well as reasonable labor charges for large copy requests.