Remote-access Guide

ohio limited remote access of civil records

by Dr. Evert Buckridge MD Published 1 year ago Updated 1 year ago

To the extent feasible and not otherwise prohibited by law, the Court provides remote public electronic access to civil court records that are not sealed or confidential by law. The public is defined to include: a. Any person, business, or non-profit entity; b.

Full Answer

What is a court record in Ohio?

A court record in Ohio is a file that contains information and facts regarding a lawsuit. Particulars about court proceedings, courtroom appearances, and court decisions are contributed to this permanent record. Court records are a matter of public record for the most part and should be readily available for public viewing.

How do I find a criminal record in Ohio?

Requests can also be made to county clerks of the county where the court that heard the case is located. Public criminal court records in Ohio are available through the case management system, the Public Access Court Electronic Records (PACER) system, and by requests to the clerk of the court.

What is the Ohio open records law?

The Ohio Open Records Law was passed in 1954, with the latest amendment coming as recently as 2008. The aim of the law is to guarantee that court records, as well as other public records, can be accessed by any member of the public. It was signed by the legislature to allow all Ohio residents the ability to request government records at all levels.

How do I access court records and fees?

Details on how to access court records and the associated fees in each court are provided on the courts’ website. Interested persons may also contact the court clerk where the case was filed to get information on how to access court records.


Can you watch court cases online in Ohio?

The Supreme Court of Ohio is committed to instilling public trust and confidence in the judiciary through public access to court proceedings virtually.

How do I look up a civil case in Ohio?

An online name search can be conducted on the “case search” or “record search” portal. The Ohio judiciary website provides a list of all the Courts in Ohio and their respective locations, phone numbers, and websites. A name search to find a case number can also be conducted at the courthouse where the case was filed.

What records are and are not subject to the laws in Ohio?

Open Records Law Ohio Rev. Code sec. 149.43 et seq. Exempt: Personal bank records; medical records; adoption records; probation and parole records; and certain law enforcement investigative records.

How do I look up records in Ohio?

While other states have created an online portal to house and search court records, Ohio has not. The best way to access court records is to search for the county court or municipal court where the case was heard. Some countries do have records available online.

Are court cases public record?

The records of every court of justice shall be public records and shall be available for the inspection of any interested person, at all proper business hours, under the supervision of the clerk having custody of such records, unless the court shall, in any special case, have forbidden their publicity, in the interest ...

How do I get court documents in Ohio?

If you are interested in obtaining court records, you should go to the courthouse where the case is taking place and request the records in writing from the clerk of the court (there will usually be a request form).

What is the Sunshine law in Ohio?

The 2022 Sunshine Laws Manual spells out the rights that each Ohioan has to oversee his or her elected officials and details for those officials their obligation to operate transparently.

Is Ohio an open records state?

Ohio Revised Code 149.43 is known as the Ohio Public Records Act or the "Sunshine Laws." ORC 149.43 requires that public meetings be open to the public, that public records be open and available to the public and that public records be maintained in such a manner that they will be available to the public upon request.

What is considered public record in Ohio?

(1) "Public record" means records kept by any public office, including, but not limited to, state, county, city, village, township, and school district units, and records pertaining to the delivery of educational services by an alternative school in this state kept by the nonprofit or for-profit entity operating the ...

How do I access public records?

All Federal court records are available online at, an electronic public access service that is overseen by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. This includes all Federal civil court cases, criminal charges, as well as bankruptcies. In all, there are over 500 million documents on PACER.

How do I do a background check on myself for free?

How to do a free online background checkUse a Consumer Reporting Agency to do a background check.Most court information is public record.Equifax and other sites offer one free credit report per year.

How do you see if I have a warrant in Ohio?

Persons who want to find out about any outstanding warrants can conduct an Ohio warrant search through any of the following ways: Criminal record checks. Sheriff, police department, and county websites. Court clerks.

How do I get a copy of my court records?

There are three ways to look at court records:Go to the courthouse and ask to look at paper records.Go to the courthouse and look at electronic court records.If your court offers it, look at electronic records over the internet. This is called “remote access.”

How do I find criminal records for free in Ohio?

The only way to perform a free background check in Ohio is through a local state database. For over twenty years, the state has provided a platform for people to run free background checks using different verified resources.

How do I find marriage records in Ohio?

Certified copies of marriage licenses and divorce decrees can only be obtained from the county where the event was recorded. Marriage certificate copies can be obtained from the specific county probate court. In Ohio each county probate court maintains their own online contact pages and information.

How do I look up federal cases in Ohio?

Federal case files are maintained electronically and are available through the internet-based Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service. PACER allows anyone with an account to search and locate appellate, district, and bankruptcy court case and docket information. Register for a PACER account.

Who Can Access Ohio Public Records?

Pursuant to state laws, any person within or outside Ohio may make requests for public records. The requester’s right includes the right to view, inspect, and make copies within a reasonable time. A requester may also be a juridical person such as corporations and limited liability companies. The requester’s right does not extend to information exempted from public records either by law or by a court order. If the requested public record contains information that is exempt, the custodian is still required to disclose the non-exempt part of the records to the requester. In such a case, the custodian should make the redaction clearly visible or notify the requester of the redaction.

Where can I access Public Criminal Court Records in Ohio?

Interested persons may be able to access criminal court records by contacting the court clerks. The requests to court clerks may be made in person at the courthouse that heard the case, by mail, or online. County clerks may grant public access to free Ohio court records if the request is to view the record in person. For online requests, the person making the request would need to fill and submit the copy request form. After submitting the form, the requester would be contacted by phone or email regarding how to make payment from the request. In-person requests at the courthouse may be either to view or obtain copies of the records. There is a 50 cent charge for each page and an additional $11 charge for a certified copy. Requests can also be made to county clerks of the county where the court that heard the case is located.

What is exempted under the Ohio Public Record Law?

The Ohio Revised Code exempts some records from being public. Requests for these records are usually declined in full if the entire record is not part of Ohio public records or the requests may be partly honored if only part of the record is exempted. Records that are exempted include:

How Do I Find Public Records in Ohio?

Interested persons can view or obtain public records in Ohio by contacting the custodian of the records. The Ohio Revised Code requires that custodians of public records make the records available promptly when requests are made to view or copy the records. The requester would need to determine the information they seek and appropriately describe the record. This is because a clear description of the record is necessary to enable the custodian of the records to find the record. If the custodian cannot reasonably find the record, they may decline the request. The record can be identified with unique information such as the subject’s name, case number if it is a court record, and other identifying information.

How do I look Up public records in Ohio for free?

Whether a public record in Ohio can be obtained for free depends on the record, the custodian of the record, and how the request is made . Free public records in Ohio are available in some cases. Merely viewing the records at the physical location of the custodian does not attract any charges. This may be done for arrest records and incident reports with police departments and court records with courthouses. Agencies that provide the option to physically view the records usually have lobbies and terminals that interested persons can use to view the records during business hours. Electronic copies of some records can also be obtained. Some county clerks maintain websites that can be used to search for public records. Sex offender and inmate information can also be obtained online at no cost. However, obtaining copies of the records or having the records sent by mail will attract fees.

Do I Need to State My Purpose When Requesting Public Records in Ohio?

Any person making a request for public records in Ohio does not need to state their purpose for any request. Under Ohio Revised Code 149.43 (B) (5), requests can be made either in writing or orally. Requests may even be made anonymously. The custodian of the records may ask for the requester’s identity, may ask the requester to make the request in writing, or may request for the purpose of the request. However, this should only be done after the custodian of the records has informed the requester that none of these pieces of information are required under the law. The custodian should only ask for the information where it shall be instrumental in searching for the requested record. The purpose of the request may be required pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 149.43 (B) (7c) if the requester makes requests through a website or to be delivered by the United States mail. This is because the requester may be required to show that the purpose of the request is not commercial if more than ten requests are made in a month.

What Happens if I am Refused a Public Records Request?

Record seekers who are wrongfully denied access to records by a public office may bring claims in several courts. However, it is important to first obtain a reason for the denial. Public officers do not have to provide a reason in writing if the request is not made in writing. This is why it is advisable to make requests in writing. Ohio Revised Code 149.43 (B) (3) requires officers denying a written request to state their reason for denying the request in writing. The requester may also make an appeal to know the reason for the denial if the request was not made in writing. The requester may then bring an action once they know the reason for the denial and the reason is wrongful.

When was the Ohio Open Records Law passed?

The Ohio Open Records Law was passed in 1954 , with the latest amendment coming as recently as 2008. The aim of the law is to guarantee that court records, as well as other public records, can be accessed by any member of the public.

How Do I Find Court Records in Ohio?

The first step to take when trying to obtain court records in Ohio is to draft a request application and send it to the courthouse where the case was filed or heard. In Ohio, courts maintain official court records in hard copy or electronic format; thus, interested persons can access documents in either form. There are two primary ways to access court records. These include:

How Do Ohio Courts Work?

Ohio courts are made up of three main levels, including the Trial Courts, Courts of Appeals, and the state Supreme Court. Trial courts have the first-hand jurisdiction over most civil and criminal matters and may also be referred to as courts of general jurisdiction. Appeals from the trial courts are transferred to the Ohio Courts of Appeals, the state’s intermediate-level appellate courts. The Courts of Appeals hear appeals from the trial courts in both civil and criminal matters. However, sometimes, a case may be transferred directly to the Supreme Court, thereby bypassing the Courts of Appeals. This may happen when the case is outside the Courts of Appeals’ jurisdiction, such as a case where the defendant is appealing a death sentence judgment passed by a lower court. The Ohio Supreme Court is the highest court in the state and has authority over all Ohio courts. The state’s Supreme Court is the last resort court and has supremacy over the Ohio constitution's interpretation.

What Are Civil Court and Small Claims in Ohio?

Chapter 1925 of the Ohio Revised Code requires that each county and municipal court establishes a small claims division , typically referred to as the small claims court. Ohio small claims courts function as fair, prompt, and inexpensive resolution points for minor disputes. Small claims hearings are informal as there is no jury; instead, the municipal court or county court judge, or a magistrate (a qualified attorney appointed by the judge) presides over cases.

What Are Ohio Judgment Records?

These records are considered public records per the Ohio Open Record Law. However, a requester must identify the record custodian, provide the necessary details to facilitate a search, and pay the applicable administrative fees. Cash, money order, certified check, and credit cards are valid payment methods.

What are Ohio bankruptcy records?

Ohio bankruptcy records are records of people or companies who have filed for bankruptcy within the state of Ohio. Records of bankruptcy in Ohio often contain intricate financial information of the person or party filing for bankruptcy. The information in the bankruptcy action often includes:

How Do I Find My Case Number in Ohio?

A case number helps determine the year the case was filed, the court where it was filed, and other details on the case. A case number also provides easier access to case information and allows for a more specific search result, as a case number is unique to each case, and no two cases have the same number. Interested persons can search online with the name of either party involved in the case and also provide other optional information, including filing date and date of birth, to facilitate the search and identify the case number.

What is the Court of Claims in Ohio?

The Court of Claims in Ohio deals exclusively with civil actions that are made against the state of Ohio.

How many courts are there in Ohio?

There are 12 courts of appeals, which is an unusually high number, and there are also a number of trial courts, some of these have just limited, subject-matter jurisdiction ...

What is common pleas court?

The Common Pleas Courts are trial courts, these are present in each of the counties of the state, 88 in total. Under these are the Municipal Courts which have jurisdiction over specific areas and ordinance violations such as traffic misdemeanors. Ohio also has County Courts. These hear the preliminary hearings of many of the local ordinance issues, ...

How many judges are there in the Ohio Supreme Court?

Between 4 and 12 judges sit within the courts. There are 7 judgeships at the Ohio Supreme Court, which dates back to the early 1800s.

Can you search court records in Ohio?

Quickly and easily search through the long history of Ohio Court Records on our site. The Ohio Open Records Law protects the right of citizens to see public records kept by the court, unless otherwise redacted by law. Records exist in the state from way back in the 1700s, but most modern records have been digitized and are available to view and search online.

Does Ohio have a county court?

Ohio also has County Courts. These hear the preliminary hearings of many of the local ordinance issues, traffic laws and sometimes small civil claims of lower values. Unusually, there is also a system of a Mayor’s Court. These only deal with local state laws such as ordinance and state laws and should there be appeals they are quickly moved up ...

How to access Ohio court records?

Many courts in Ohio administer access to their repositories with a digital portal, and individual court records are available for viewing on the internet. A few counties do not permit web-based accessibility to court records or just haven’t gotten to modernizing their systems. The procedure you will follow and the reports you can access will deviate depending on the country and the rules they have in place for accessing court records. Anyone can start a search by going to your state’s court web page if a central one is available. From there, work your way down to county-level courts, the place nearly all recording transpires.

What is court record in Ohio?

A court record in Ohio is a file that contains information and facts regarding a lawsuit. Particulars about court proceedings, courtroom appearances, and court decisions are contributed to this permanent record. Court records are a matter of public record for the most part and should be readily available for public viewing.

What is the role of a clerk of court in Ohio?

A Clerk of Courts is the person or department in Ohio that is charged with keeping court documents. This responsibility is important for both the court system and the general public. Making admission to court files and genealogy records easier.

What is civil case in Ohio?

Civil cases en tail personal misunderstandings between persons, institutions, or a mix of both. Criminal cases in Ohio involve people that have broken the law, and the government itself is persecuting them. Ohio criminal law and civil law are quite different and utilize separate courts; however, it is not out of the ordinary for both sometimes to cross over.

Is Ohio court document public record?

For the most part, all Ohio court documents are available to the Ohio public, whether it be a family matter or bench warrant. There are exceptions to this stipulation, for instance, if someone requests that their file be declared “under seal,” thus holding it from being public record. Typically a good reason needs to be in place for the judge to approve such a request.

Public Records

Ohio's public records law should not be confused with the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which applies to records held by federal agencies. Ohio EPA does not have a central repository for all its records. Each division within Ohio EPA and each of the five district offices houses its own files.

How do I begin?

In order to better identify, locate and track the file (s) being requested, Ohio EPA suggests all requests for public records or file reviews be submitted in writing. When making a request, it is suggested that you fill out and submit the file review request checklist.

Copying Charge

The charge for copies is five cents per page. As a courtesy, Ohio EPA may waive the charges if fewer than 250 copies are made.

File Review Contacts

The best initial contact for your file review request is the district office where the facility or site is located. To locate the appropriate office, please see the map below.

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