Public Records

The Judicial Council of California and the California courts are part of the judicial branch of state government. The Judicial Council decides policies and priorities for the judicial branch. The courts decide disputes, called “cases,” “lawsuits,” or “actions.” There are 58 state superior courts in California, one located in each county. There are six Courts of Appeal, and there is one Supreme Court. (You can find more information about the California courts here.)

 

Both the Judicial Council and the courts create, receive, use, and keep documents or records. This page is about public access to Judicial Council records and court records. It explains how to request copies of some records, and where to look for other records.


Types of records: The Judicial Council has records about judicial branch business, called “judicial administrative records” or “administrative records.” Here are some examples: budget and spending reports; financial statements; contracts; audit reports; reports to the Judicial Council; and reports to the Legislature.

Under rule 10.500 of the California Rules of Court, the public may request copies of most judicial administrative records. The Judicial Council also already posts many judicial administrative records on the California Courts website, www.courts.ca.gov/. If you scroll down to the next section, you will find links to commonly requested records. (Please keep reading to the next sections below, to learn more about court case records, for example, divorce records, name change records, criminal background records, and traffic records. As explained below, each California court is independently responsible for keeping those records, and you must contact the court where a case is filed to get copies.)

How do I ask for copies of Judicial Council records? If you want copies of Judicial Council administrative records, and you do not find them on this website, please follow these steps:

1. Click on this form;
2. Fill out all parts of the form;
3. Save the completed form on your computer;*
4. Attach the completed form to an email; and
5. Send the email to pajar@jud.ca.gov.
(*If you do not save the completed form to your computer before you send it, the Judicial Council may only receive a blank form.)

You can also send the completed form by regular mail to:
Judicial Council of California;
Attention: PAJAR, Legal Services
455 Golden Gate Ave. San Francisco, California 94102.

What can I expect? PAJAR means Public Access to Judicial Administrative Records. The Judicial Council’s PAJAR team will read the information you give on your form. Please give all the details you can about the records you want because this will help the PAJAR team search for them. If the PAJAR team has questions, they will email you.

How long will it take? Every email to the PAJAR team receives an automatic reply, confirming that the PAJAR team has received the email. The automatic reply includes information about the types of records the PAJAR team cannot provide and links to resources that may be helpful. If you have asked for records the PAJAR team can provide, and the PAJAR team has no questions, the PAJAR team will send you another email about 10 days after it gets your request. That email may tell you that the Judicial Council has the records you want or that the council does not have those records. The email may tell you that the PAJAR team needs more time to finish work on your request. If the PAJAR team needs more time, it will tell you a date when it expects to finish work and notify you of the results of its search. If the Judicial Council has records to give you, the PAJAR team most often will send you electronic copies by email. If you do not have an email account, the PAJAR team will send you paper copies by regular mail.

How do I contact PAJAR?: If you have questions about a request you sent, you can email pajar@jud.ca.gov. You can also call 415-865-7796, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday (except not on holidays).

Do I have to pay any fee or costs? Depending on the circumstances, maybe. Here is more information about fees:

  • Copying: The Judicial Council does not charge a fee to email copies of records if the records already exist in an electronic format. If you need paper copies or if the council must create electronic copies of paper records, the PAJAR team may require that you first pay a fee equal to the direct costs of copying or producing the records before it sends them to you. Generally, the copying fee is 10 cents per page. You can find more information on this subject in rule 10.500(e)(4), and in the Judicial Council’s PAJAR Fee Guidelines.
  • Mailing and records retrieval: The PAJAR team may also require advance payment of a fee to cover the direct cost of mailing records to you or retrieving records from a remote storage facility or archive.
  • Commercial use fee: If the PAJAR team determines that records are requested for a commercial use, it may require advance payment of a fee to cover the actual costs of staff search and review time to fulfill the request. You can find more information on this subject in rule 10.500(e)(4)(C) and (e)(4)(D). The commercial use fee does not apply for representatives of the news media.


Accommodations: A person with a disability may send a request for records in other formats too. You will find information about accessibility issues and about accommodations for people with disabilities, at this link. If you have technical difficulties, please visit the Website Technical Assistance page.

Many judicial administrative records are already available on the California Courts website. Here are examples of many records that people ask to see, with links to pages where they are posted on the California Courts website:

All California courts have two kinds of records.

  1. They have “case records,” also called “adjudicative records.” Case records are documents or materials filed with a court in a case or lawsuit. Parties file records in a case asking courts to decide their dispute or take other action. Courts file orders and decisions.
  2. Courts also have judicial administrative records. These are records about how courts do their work. For example, courts have financial records and contracts. 

The public may request copies of court case records if the records are not confidential by law or sealed by a court order. The public may request copies of a court’s judicial administrative records if the records are not exempt under rule 10.500(f) of the California Rules of Court. 

Please read the sections below to learn how to request copies of court records. The Judicial Council’s PAJAR team can assist with requests Supreme Court or Court of Appeal judicial administrative records. The PAJAR team cannot assist with requests for (1) Supreme Court or Court of Appeal case records or (2) superior court records.

If you want copies of Supreme Court or Court of Appeal administrative records, please follow these steps:

1. Click on this form;
2. Fill out all parts of the form;
3. Save the completed form to your computer;*
4. Attach the completed form to an email; and
5. Send the email to pajar@jud.ca.gov.
(*If you do not save the completed form to your computer before you send it, the Judicial Council may only receive a blank form.)

You can also send the completed form by regular mail to:
Judicial Council of California;
Attention: PAJAR, Legal Services
455 Golden Gate Ave.
San Francisco, California 94102.

The Judicial Council’s Public Access to Judicial Administrative Records (PAJAR) team will respond on behalf of the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal to requests for copies of their administrative records. Please scroll up to the first section on this page, “How can I look at Judicial Council records or get copies?” to find information about what to expect, timing, fees, and costs.

1. You can search for information about specific Supreme Court or Court of Appeal cases, and see court calendars, at https://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.gov/search.cfm?dist=0.

2. You can see or print other Supreme Court case information at https://supreme.courts.ca.gov/case-information.

3. You can see and print copies of opinions the Supreme Court or a Court of Appeal issued at www.courts.ca.gov/opinions.htm.

To see or copy other types of Supreme Court or Court of Appeal case records, visit or call the specific court. You can find court locations and contact information here:
Supreme Court, https://supreme.courts.ca.gov/about-court/court-locations-and-contacts;
Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, https://www.courts.ca.gov/2969.htm;
Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, https://www.courts.ca.gov/2972.htm;
Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District https://www.courts.ca.gov/2978.htm;
Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, https://www.courts.ca.gov/2937.htm;
Court of Appeal Fifth Appellate District, https://www.courts.ca.gov/2991.htm;
Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, https://www.courts.ca.gov/3007.htm.

You can find information about which Court of Appeal may have a specific case in the California Courts Self-Help Guide, here.

You can also see a map showing the California counties in each Court of Appeal district at www.courts.ca.gov/documents/appdistmap.pdf.

You can see a map showing Court of Appeal case number prefixes (A–H) at www.courts.ca.gov/courtsofappeal.htm.

There is one superior court located in each of the 58 California counties. You must contact the individual superior court to ask for copies of its records, both case records and judicial administrative records. Each superior court is responsible for keeping its own records, and the Judicial Council’s PAJAR team is not able to provide copies.

You can find information about the 58 California superior courts at www.courts.ca.gov/superiorcourts.htm.

You can find a list of all 58 superior courts, with links to their websites at www.courts.ca.gov/find-my-court.htm?query=browse_courts. On the same page, you will find links to specific superior court website pages that have court contact information, jury information, traffic information, self-help resources, and Court of Appeal districts.

The superior court websites have information about how to ask for copies of court case records and judicial administrative records.

These are examples of superior court case records:

  • Divorce decrees or orders;
  • Wills;
  • Name change records;
  • Criminal history records;
  • Traffic tickets and other traffic violation records; and
  • Probate records, including records of guardianships and conservatorships.


You must visit or call the clerk’s office of the superior court where the case is filed, to get copies of these records. There is one superior court in each California county. Click on this link to find a list of all California superior court websites, with links to court website pages that show court contact information. Each court is responsible for keeping its own case records. The Judicial Council’s PAJAR team is not able to provide you copies.

Find Your Court

For jury duty, traffic tickets, or local court information, find your trial court:

Contact Info

Public Access to Judicial Administrative Records (PAJAR)
Legal Services | Leadership Services
Judicial Council of California
5th Floor, 455 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102-3688

Ph: 415-865-7796
TTY: 415-865-4272
E-mail: PAJAR@jud.ca.gov

Office Hours: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Monday-Friday (excluding holidays)