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The Guide to Hawaii Court Records


The Hawaii trial court system consists of Circuit Courts, District Courts, Family Courts, Land Courts, and Tax Appeal Court.
 
The trial court system in Hawaii is primarily divided into Circuit Courts and District Courts. Family Courts are divisions of Circuit Courts and District Courts. Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over most civil and criminal cases, but generally only handle cases beyond the jurisdiction of other courts. District Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases. The Land Court and The Tax Appeal Court each have limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases.

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Please select a Hawaii county below to view directory of all courts with links to court record resources for each court. Find Hawaii court pages by Town or Zip Code. Select a court record or online resource category below to view all resources at both the statewide and county level. Go to the court records pages for another state.
 


 
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Hawaii Circuit Courts

Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, including jury trials. Circuit Courts generally handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts.

Cases typically handled in Circuit Courts include felony criminal cases, general civil cases with more than $10,000 in dispute, domestic relations, probate matters, guardianships, juvenile matters and abuse prevention.

Circuit Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over most felony criminal cases, all probate cases, and most guardianship cases. Circuit Courts share jurisdiction with Family Court divisions over certain types of cases, including certain criminal felony cases and guardianship cases for incapacitated adults.

Circuit Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over most civil cases with more than $20,000 in dispute, exclusive of fees, costs and interest. Circuit Courts share jurisdiction with District Courts over civil cases with amounts in dispute between $10,000 and $20,000, exclusive of fees, costs and interest.

Circuit Courts and District Courts share some jurisdiction over family law cases. Family Courts are divisions in Circuit Courts and District Courts, but most Family Court cases are heard in Circuit Courts. A Circuit Family Court judge may assign cases to a District Family Court division.

Family Courts have jurisdiction over divorce, child support, paternity, guardianship of children and adults, civil commitment and cases related to domestic violence, including requests for domestic abuse protective orders and some criminal cases.

Family Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over juvenile matters, including juvenile delinquency, child neglect, truancy, juvenile curfew violations, child custody, guardianship of a child, adoption, termination of parental rights, and judicial consent to marriage, employment, or enlistment of a child when such consent is required by law. Circuit Courts have a Girls Court for some cases involving female juvenile offenders.

Criminal cases handled by Family Courts include offenses committed against a child by a child’s parent or legal custodian, desertion, abandonment, failure to provide support, non-felony cases against a spouse, and violations of Domestic Abuse Protective Orders. Family Courts share criminal jurisdiction with Circuit Courts and District Courts. A Family Court may transfer certain types of cases to other courts under certain circumstances.

Hawaii District Courts

District Courts do not offer jury trials and have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases. For cases with a right to a jury, a proper jury trial request will transfer the case to Circuit Court.

Criminal cases generally handled by District Courts include misdemeanors, county ordinance violations and traffic infractions. District Courts share some jurisdiction with Family Court divisions over certain types of criminal cases, and a Family Court may transfer criminal cases to a District Court under certain circumstances.

District Courts also have authority to issue restraining orders against harassment. Each District Court has a Family Court division that handles domestic relations cases assigned by a Circuit Family Court division judge.

District Courts have jurisdiction over most civil cases when the amount in dispute is less than $20,000, excluding fees, costs and interest. This financial limit does not apply to most landlord-tenant cases.

District Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over most civil cases when the amount in dispute is less than $10,000, excluding fees, costs and interest.

Each District Court has a Small Claims division with jurisdiction over civil cases involving the recovery of less than $3,500, exclusive of interest and costs. Small Claims divisions also handle landlord-tenant security deposit disputes and disputes over the return of rented or leased property worth $3,500 or less when the amount claimed in the case is less than $3,500, exclusive of interest and costs.

Small Claims divisions cannot award punitive damages or hear class action lawsuits. Small Claims divisions can grant some equitable relief in landlord-tenant cases, including orders for repairs to rented property. When a case is eligible for the Small Claims division, the Plaintiff has the option to file in District Court to take advantage of the regular court procedures.

In addition to jury trials, District Courts also cannot handle other certain types of cases, including disputes over title to real estate, libel, slander, defamation of character, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, and other certain types of cases.

Generally, cases within the jurisdiction of a Family Court division will be heard in Circuit Court, but a Circuit Family Court judge may assign cases to a District Family Court division.

Family Courts have jurisdiction over divorce, child support, paternity, guardianship of children and adults, civil commitment and other cases authorized by law. In addition, Family Courts handle cases related to Domestic Violence, including but not limited to requests for Domestic Abuse protective orders and certain criminal cases that involve allegations of domestic violence.

Family Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over cases that include but are not limited to juvenile delinquency, child neglect, truancy, juvenile curfew violations, child custody, guardianship of a child, adoption, termination of parental rights, and judicial consent to marriage, employment, or enlistment.

Family Courts have jurisdiction over some criminal cases, including offenses committed against a child by a child’s parent or legal custodian, desertion, abandonment, failure to provide support, non-felony cases against a spouse, and violations of Domestic Abuse Protective Orders.

Hawaii Family Courts

Family Courts are divisions of Circuit Courts and District Courts. Most Family Court cases are heard in Circuit Courts, but a Circuit Family Court judge may assign cases to a District Family Court division.

Family Courts have jurisdiction over divorce, child support, paternity, guardianship of children and adults, civil commitment and cases related to domestic violence, including requests for domestic abuse protective orders and certain criminal cases.

Family Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over many juvenile matters, including juvenile delinquency, child neglect, truancy, juvenile curfew violations, child custody, guardianship of a child, adoption, termination of parental rights, and judicial consent to marriage, employment, or enlistment.

Family Courts have jurisdiction over some criminal cases, including offenses committed against a child by a child’s parent or legal custodian, desertion, abandonment, failure to provide support, non-felony cases against a spouse, and violations of Domestic Abuse Protective Orders. Family Court divisions share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts and District Courts over certain criminal offenses, and may transfer certain types of cases to other courts under certain circumstances.

Hawaii Land Courts

The Land Court handles cases related to the registration of title to land, some rights that may be associated with land and cases authorized by the Land Court Registration statute.

The Land Court handles cases for the entire state and is located in Honolulu County at the First Circuit Court.

Hawaii Tax Appeal Court

The Tax Appeal Court handles appeals of real property taxation decisions and other issues related to real property taxes. Jury trials are not available in this court.

The Tax Appeal Court handles cases for the entire state and is located in Honolulu County at the First Circuit Court.

Hawaii Court Notes

The Hawaii Court system has four territorial circuits that are referred to as the First, Second, Third and Fifth Circuits. The Fourth Circuit was abolished when it was incorporated into the Third Circuit in 1943.

Where to find court cases in Hawaii

The chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of court in Hawaii.
 

Most Cases = Most or all cases.     Some Cases = Some cases.

Case Type Court Type
CivilCircuit CourtsDistrict CourtsFamily Courts
General Civil - Unlimited
 Most or all General Civil - Unlimited cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some General Civil - Unlimited cases can be found in the District Courts
 
General Civil - Limited
 Some General Civil - Limited cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Most or all General Civil - Limited cases can be found in the District Courts
 
Small Claims 
 Most or all Small Claims cases can be found in the District Courts
 
Civil Equity
 Most or all Civil Equity cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Civil Equity cases can be found in the District Courts
 
Complex Commercial
 Most or all Complex Commercial cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
  
Foreclosures and Liens
 Some Foreclosures and Liens cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Foreclosures and Liens cases can be found in the District Courts
 
Real Estate Title and Boundary
 Most or all Real Estate Title and Boundary cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
  
Landlord / Tenant
 Some Landlord / Tenant cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Most or all Landlord / Tenant cases can be found in the District Courts
 
Ordinance Violations 
 Most or all Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the District Courts
 
Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders
 Most or all Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the District Courts
 Some Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the Family Courts
Administrative Agency Appeals
 Most or all Administrative Agency Appeals cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Administrative Agency Appeals cases can be found in the District Courts
 Some Administrative Agency Appeals cases can be found in the Family Courts
CriminalCircuit CourtsDistrict CourtsFamily Courts
Felony
 Most or all Felony cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
  
Felony Preliminary Hearings
 Some Felony Preliminary Hearings cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Felony Preliminary Hearings cases can be found in the District Courts
 
Misdemeanors
 Some Misdemeanors cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Most or all Misdemeanors cases can be found in the District Courts
 
Ordinance Violations 
 Most or all Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the District Courts
 
Juvenile
 Most or all Juvenile cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Juvenile cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Juvenile cases can be found in the Family Courts
Traffic and Infractions 
 Most or all Traffic and Infractions cases can be found in the District Courts
 
Domestic RelationsCircuit CourtsDistrict CourtsFamily Courts
Divorce
 Most or all Divorce cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Divorce cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Divorce cases can be found in the Family Courts
Child Custody and Visitation
 Most or all Child Custody and Visitation cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Child Custody and Visitation cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Child Custody and Visitation cases can be found in the Family Courts
Child Support
 Most or all Child Support cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Child Support cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Child Support cases can be found in the Family Courts
Paternity
 Most or all Paternity cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Paternity cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Paternity cases can be found in the Family Courts
Domestic Violence Protection Order
 Most or all Domestic Violence Protection Order cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Domestic Violence Protection Order cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Domestic Violence Protection Order cases can be found in the Family Courts
JuvenileCircuit CourtsDistrict CourtsFamily Courts
Adoptions
 Most or all Adoptions cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Adoptions cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Adoptions cases can be found in the Family Courts
Juvenile Delinquency
 Most or all Juvenile Delinquency cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Juvenile Delinquency cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Juvenile Delinquency cases can be found in the Family Courts
Child Abuse and Neglect
 Most or all Child Abuse and Neglect cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Child Abuse and Neglect cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Child Abuse and Neglect cases can be found in the Family Courts
Termination of Parental Rights
 Most or all Termination of Parental Rights cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Termination of Parental Rights cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Termination of Parental Rights cases can be found in the Family Courts
Children in Need of Supervision
 Most or all Children in Need of Supervision cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Children in Need of Supervision cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Children in Need of Supervision cases can be found in the Family Courts
Mental HealthCircuit CourtsDistrict CourtsFamily Courts
Involuntary Commitments
 Most or all Involuntary Commitments cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Involuntary Commitments cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Involuntary Commitments cases can be found in the Family Courts
Other Mental Health Cases
 Some Other Mental Health Cases cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Other Mental Health Cases cases can be found in the District Courts
 Some Other Mental Health Cases cases can be found in the Family Courts
ProbateCircuit CourtsDistrict CourtsFamily Courts
Wills & Estates
 Most or all Wills & Estates cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
  
Name Changes
 Some Name Changes cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Name Changes cases can be found in the District Courts
 Some Name Changes cases can be found in the Family Courts
Trusts
 Most or all Trusts cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
  
Guardianships and Conservatorships
 Most or all Guardianships and Conservatorships cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Guardianships and Conservatorships cases can be found in the District Courts
 Most or all Guardianships and Conservatorships cases can be found in the Family Courts

Note: Some courts in Hawaii are not included in the chart above. Please use the following links for descriptions and types of cases heard:
 
  Land Courts  Tax Appeal Court


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