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Finding Court Records in Vermont

Vermont Courts Overview

It helps to understand how the Vermont state court system works when you’re trying to find court records. The Vermont trial court system consists of Superior Courts and Judicial Bureau.

Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, and are organized into court divisions by case type. Divisions in each county include Civil, Criminal, Family, and Probate. The Environmental Division is a specialized division that handles environmental cases for the entire state from one office location, with trials held in the county in which the case arose. The Judicial Bureau has statewide jurisdiction over most traffic and municipal ordinance violations and operates out of one office location, with hearings held in multiple locations.

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

Vermont Superior Courts

Superior Courts have jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases. Each of Vermont's 14 counties has a Superior Court.

Superior Courts are organized into court divisions based on case type. Divisions within a Superior Court include Civil, Criminal, Family, Probate, Juvenile, and Environmental. Each of Vermont's 14 counties has a Civil, Criminal, Family, and Probate Division. Bennington, Rutland, Windham, and Windsor Counties each have a second Probate Divisions in a separate location.

Civil Division hears civil cases including personal injury, breach of contract, eviction, foreclosure, land disputes, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and small claims cases with money damages up to $5,000. The Civil Division also hears appeals from the Probate Division. Civil Division shares jurisdiction with the Vermont Supreme Court over certain types of cases, including certiorari, mandamus, prohibition, and quo warranto.

Criminal Division hears all criminal felony and misdemeanor cases, some municipal ordinance violations, and some civil cases including appeals from the Judicial Bureau, DUI driver's license suspensions, extradition proceedings, forfeitures (automobile, drug, liquor, and fish and wildlife), sex offender proceedings, and some municipal parking violations.

Family Division hears family-related cases including divorce, annulment, dissolution of civil union, separation, desertion, parentage, child custody, spousal and child support, visitation, domestic abuse orders of protection, juvenile matters, abuse and exploitation proceedings, protective services for developmentally disabled persons, involuntary sterilization, mental health proceedings, and commitments to the Vermont State Hospital. Child support cases are usually heard by Family Court Magistrates in separate Family Court proceedings.

Probate Division handles probate of wills, settlement of estates, administration of trusts, adoptions, guardianships, emancipation of minors, judicial consent for marriage of a minor, uniform gifts to minors, name changes, corrections of birth, marriage, and death certificates, proceedings related to cemeteries and disposal of remains, and various other matters.

Environmental Division is a single court with statewide jurisdiction. The division has a central office, but trials are held in the county in which the case arose. This division hears appeals from state land use permit (Act 250) decisions, Agency of Natural Resources environmental permits and other decisions, and municipal land use decisions. Environmental Division also hears municipal land use enforcement cases, Agency of Natural Resources environmental law enforcement actions, and state land use permit revocations.

Vermont Judicial Bureau

The Judicial Bureau operates under the supervision of the Vermont Supreme Court and has statewide jurisdiction over civil violations. This division has a central office, but hearings are held in multiple locations throughout the state.

Civil violations incur lesser penalties than criminal misdemeanors, and may include violations of laws or regulations governing traffic, alcohol and tobacco, ephedrine, littering, burning and waste disposal, hazing, unauthorized disclosure of criminal records, conditions of employment, scrap metal and lead, tree cutting, misuse of agricultural labels, and cruelty to animals. Some municipal ordinance violations and minor fish and wildlife violations are also included.

The Judicial Bureau does not have jurisdiction over municipal parking violations.

Where to Find Court Cases in Vermont

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

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

Case Type Court Type
Civil Superior 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
Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders Most or All Cases
Administrative Agency Appeals Most or All Cases
Criminal Superior Courts
Felony Most or All Cases
Felony Preliminary Hearings Most or All Cases
Misdemeanors Most or All Cases
Ordinance Violations Some Cases
Juvenile Most or All Cases
Traffic and Infractions  
Domestic Relations Superior 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 Superior 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 Superior Courts
Involuntary Commitments Most or All Cases
Other Mental Health Cases Most or All Cases
Probate Superior 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

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