The Guide to Massachusetts Court Records

Overview of Massachusetts Courts

The Massachusetts trial court system consists of Superior Courts, District Courts, Probate and Family Courts, Housing Courts, Juvenile Courts, Boston Municipal Courts, and Land Court.
 
Massachusetts has a unified trial court system organized into seven trial court departments. Jurisdiction over cases is generally divided between courts by case type, but several court departments share jurisdiction over certain types of cases. Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases but usually handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other trial courts. District Courts, Boston Municipal Courts, Probate and Family Courts, Housing Courts and Juvenile Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases. The Land Court has limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil cases and handles cases for the entire state from one location.

Please select a Massachusetts county below to view directory of all courts with links to court record resources for each court.
Find Massachusetts 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.
Massachusetts Superior Courts
Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, but usually only handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts.

Superior Courts generally handle criminal cases that are considered serious felonies or have a possible sentence of more than five years, although some jurisdiction is shared with other courts.

Superior Courts also handle most Abuse Prevention proceedings, except for cases that arise solely from a dating or engagement relationship.

Superior Courts generally handle civil cases that include general civil claims for money damages of more than $25,000. Some landlord-tenant cases are heard in District Courts and Boston Municipal Court without any financial limits on jurisdiction. The Supreme Judicial Court is authorized to change the financial thresholds for Superior Court jurisdiction, so the financial limits may vary.

Superior Courts also handle most cases that seek equitable relief, some cases involving real estate, most claims against the State, and certain claims made by the State.

Superior Courts share some jurisdiction with other courts, including jurisdiction over certain criminal, Abuse Prevention and real estate cases.
Massachusetts District Courts
District Courts serve the entire State, with the exception of downtown Boston, which is served by the Boston Municipal Court. District Courts have limited jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases.

Criminal cases heard by District Courts include felony crimes punishable by up to five years of incarceration, other certain types of felonies and preliminary hearings for all types of felonies. District Courts also handle most misdemeanors and violations of city and town ordinances, including traffic offenses.

Civil cases heard by District Courts include general civil claims for less than $25,000. The Supreme Judicial Court has authority to change the financial limits on District Court jurisdiction, so the amount of the limit may vary. District Courts also handle landlord-tenant cases without any limitation on the amount in dispute.

District Courts also handle Abuse Prevention, mental health, enforcement of money judgments, some cases involving appeals from administrative agency decisions, and certain types of cases that seek equitable relief.

District Courts share some jurisdiction with other trial courts over certain types of cases, including paternity and support, evictions, certain criminal cases and certain juvenile cases.
Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts
Probate and Family Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases, including domestic relations, abuse prevention, probate matters, adoption, and guardianships.

Cases typically handled by Probate and Family Courts include divorce, affirmation or annulment of marriage, abuse prevention, child custody, paternity, child support, termination of parental rights, the probate of wills, administration of estates and name changes.

Probate and Family Courts share some jurisdiction with other trial courts for certain types of cases, including cases that are related to issues of paternity, child support, child custody and some probate matters.
Massachusetts Housing Courts
Housing Courts have limited jurisdiction mostly related to the health and safety of residences, real property and goods and services connected to real property.

Housing Courts typically handle cases that arise from violations of state and local law, including building codes, sanitation codes, and other laws related to the health, welfare, and safety of occupants, owners and the general public.

Housing Courts share jurisdiction with other trial courts for criminal and civil cases in certain locations of the state, including the city of Boston. Other trial courts may transfer certain cases to Housing Courts.
Massachusetts Juvenile Courts
Juvenile Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases, including juvenile delinquency, child protection, certain adult criminal cases involving minors, adoption, termination of parental rights and guardianship.

Juvenile Courts share some jurisdiction over certain types of cases with other trial courts.
Massachusetts Boston Municipal Courts
Boston Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction that is similar to District Court jurisdiction, with some additional jurisdiction for certain types of cases.

Criminal cases heard by Boston Municipal Courts include felonies punishable by up to five years of incarceration, other certain types of felonies and preliminary hearings for all types of felony cases. Boston Municipal Courts handle most misdemeanor criminal cases and violations of city and town ordinances, including traffic offenses.

Civil cases heard by Boston Municipal Court include most general civil claims for less than $25,000. The Supreme Judicial Court is authorized to change the financial limits on Boston Municipal Court jurisdiction, so the amount of the limit may vary. Boston Municipal Courts also handle landlord-tenant cases without any limitation on the amount in dispute.

Boston Municipal Courts also handle Abuse Prevention, mental health cases, some cases involving appeals from administrative agency decisions, enforcement of money judgments and certain types of cases that seek equitable relief.

Boston Municipal Court shares some jurisdiction with other trial courts for certain types of cases, including paternity and support, evictions, certain criminal cases and certain juvenile cases.
Massachusetts Land Court
Land Court handles cases for the entire state and operates out of one location in Boston, although trials may be conducted in other areas under some circumstances.

Land Court has limited jurisdiction related to real estate, but only handles specific types of real estate cases, including the confirmation of title to land and certain easements or other rights in land, most complaints affecting title to registered land, some foreclosure and redemption actions related to tax titles, certain civil actions of trespass to real estate, partition actions, and other specific types of cases.

Land Court shares jurisdiction over certain types of cases with other trial courts. Certain types of cases, including some that do not have a question about right, title or interest in land, may be transferred to another trial court department. The Land Court does not offer trials by jury, so cases where a jury trial is properly requested may be transferred to another trial court.

Where to find court cases in Massachusetts
The chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of court in Massachusetts.
 
Most Cases = Most or all cases.     Some Cases = Some cases.

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

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

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