Home > North Dakota Court Guide

Finding Court Records in North Dakota

North Dakota Courts Overview

It helps to understand how the North Dakota state court system works when you’re trying to find court records. The North Dakota trial court system consists of District Courts and Municipal Courts.

District Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, and usually only handles cases beyond the jurisdiction of Municipal Courts. Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases.

If you prefer, you can start your search by going to North Dakota Courts by County.

North Dakota District Courts

District Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, and generally do not handle trials for municipal ordinance violations that are within the jurisdiction Municipal Courts.

District Courts handle all criminal cases, and may handle municipal ordinance violations cases transferred from Municipal Courts if a right to a jury trial exists and a proper request is made.

District Courts handle all civil cases, including general civil, domestic relations, juvenile, mental health and probate matters.

Each District Court has a Small Claims Court division that handles most general civil claims for less than $5000, if both parties agree to Small Claims Court jurisdiction. The Small Claims Court division can hear cases for the recovery of money and cases involving the cancellation of agreements when mental fraud, deception, misrepresentation or false promise is alleged. If a case has complex facts or legal issues, it may be dismissed and can be filed in the regular civil division of District Court.

District Courts each have a Juvenile Court division with exclusive original jurisdiction over cases that allege a juvenile is unruly, delinquent or deprived.

Under certain circumstances, District Courts may exercise limited jurisdiction over some civil claims from Tribal territories, including claims related to guardians appointed by a Tribal Court and enforcement of certain Tribal Court orders.

North Dakota Municipal Courts

Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases and typically handle most violations of municipal ordinances.

Municipal Courts do not offer jury trials, so if a right to a jury trial exists and a proper request is made, the case will be transferred to District Court.

North Dakota Tribal Courts

North Dakota has a separate Tribal Court system that may interact with District Courts.

Under certain circumstances, District Courts may exercise limited jurisdiction over some civil claims from Tribal territories, including claims related to guardians appointed by a Tribal Court and enforcement of certain Tribal Court orders.

Where to Find Court Cases in North Dakota

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

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

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

Find North Dakota Courts by County

Return to Top