Are Arkansas Court Records Public? A Breakdown!

Arkansas court records are important documents that provide insight into the legal matters overseen by the state’s judicial system.

The accessibility of these records is governed by the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which was enacted in 1967.

Under this law, most court records in Arkansas are considered public information, giving residents the right to access and inspect these documents to foster transparency and accountability within the legal system.

However, not all court records are made available to the public. There are certain types of records that are exempt from the FOIA and might be sealed or confidential to protect sensitive information or the privacy of the individuals involved.

To access Arkansas court records, individuals can use various channels, such as visiting the respective court or utilizing online resources like the Arkansas Judiciary’s CourtConnect or third-party platforms.

Key Takeaways

  • Arkansas court records are generally public information under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
  • Some court records are exempted or confidential to protect sensitive information and individual privacy.
  • Access to Arkansas court records can be achieved through court visits or online resources like CourtConnect.

Arkansas Court Records and Public Access

Understanding Arkansas Court Records

Arkansas court records contain information related to the various cases and proceedings that took place within the jurisdiction of the state’s courts.

These records include civil, criminal, family, probate, and other case information.

According to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), court records are considered public records, subject to certain exceptions.

These records typically consist of the following items:

  • Case information, such as case number, parties involved, and type of case
  • Documents filed in the court, such as petitions, motions, and orders
  • Court proceedings, including hearings, trials, and judgments
  • Vital statistics related to the case, such as marriage or divorce records

Public Access to Court Records

Public access to Arkansas court records is available to anyone interested in obtaining the information.

In accordance with the FOIA, every documented record resulting from the discharge of official duties supported by public funds is considered a public record.

There are several ways to access these court records, both online and offline:

  1. CourtConnect – Arkansas Judiciary: This online platform allows users to search for and view case information in the state courts, including the Arkansas Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Circuit Courts, and District Courts.
  2. In-person access: Individuals can visit the clerk’s office at the court where the case was filed to request access to the records. Some fees may be assessed for copying and certified copies of documents.
  3. Arkansas State Court Records – UniCourt: This online service allows users to search public court records from Arkansas state courts for free.

Keep in mind that certain sensitive information or sealed documents may not be accessible to the public.

Access to certain records may be restricted by law, such as juvenile court records or cases involving mental health.

By understanding how Arkansas court records are managed and knowing the available options for public access, you can find the information you need related to court cases, proceedings, and decisions within the state.

Accessing Court Records Online


Arkansas court records are available for public access through CourtConnect. This online platform allows you to search public court documents from participating courts within the state.

To access records, simply use the search criteria provided, such as party name, case type, or date range – enabling you to find relevant information easily.

Moreover, CourtConnect’s list of participating courts includes many of Arkansas’ district and circuit courts, such as the Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Keep in mind, however, that only courts using the Contexte Case Management System will have their records available online.

Contexte Case Management System

The Contexte Case Management System is the software used by participating courts in Arkansas to manage and organize their records.

When a court starts using Contexte, they must notify the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) if they wish to make their public information available on CourtConnect.

In conclusion, accessing Arkansas court records is relatively easy, thanks to the online platforms like CourtConnect and the underlying Contexte Case Management System.

Be sure to check if the court of interest is listed among the participating courts, and prepare your search criteria in advance to make the process more efficient.

Steps to Obtain Court Records

In Person

To obtain Arkansas court records in person, visit the relevant court where the case is filed. You can directly approach the Circuit Clerk’s office to access the necessary documents.

Sometimes, you may be required to fill out specific forms and pay a nominal fee based on the number of pages to be copied. In Jefferson County, for instance, you can visit their Circuit Clerk’s Office at 101 West Barraque, Suite 104, Pine Bluff, AR 71601.

By Mail

Requesting Arkansas court records by mail is another option. Send a written request to the appropriate court that holds the records you need.

Make sure to include relevant details about the case and the records you seek in your letter. Keep in mind that you may have to pay copying and postage fees, so contact the court in advance to determine the necessary costs.

By Telephone

For questions about accessing court records, you can contact the Administrative Office of the Courts via telephone at (501) 410-1900 opt 1 or (866) 823-5778.

However, keep in mind that the office may not always be able to provide specific case details over the phone. Contacting the relevant court directly might be a more suitable option in certain cases.

Via Electronic Means

Arkansas court records can also be accessed online through CourtConnect provided by the Arkansas Judiciary.

This platform allows you to search for and view case information from courts that use the Arkansas Court Automation Programs (ACAP) system. Additionally, you can use to locate information from specific cases within the state’s judicial system.

The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act has made records available to the public since 1967, offering another avenue for accessing the required data.

Types of Arkansas Courts and Their Jurisdiction

Circuit Courts

Arkansas Circuit Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction. They handle a broad range of cases, including civil, criminal, probate, and family matters.

Circuit Courts have jurisdiction over most legal disputes, including disputes involving personal injury, property damage, and contracts.

In criminal cases, Circuit Courts hear both misdemeanor and felony cases, and they have the authority to conduct trials, issue judgments, and enforce sentences.

District Courts

District Courts in Arkansas are courts of limited jurisdiction, handling smaller civil cases, traffic offenses, and minor criminal cases.

There are two types of district courts: State district courts, which are served by full-time judges, and Local district courts. These courts have civil jurisdiction up to $25,000 and small claims jurisdiction up to $5,000. They may also hear limited circuit court matters.

Court of Appeals

The Arkansas Court of Appeals is an intermediate appellate court that reviews cases appealed from Circuit Courts. This court has jurisdiction over both civil and criminal appeals, although certain cases may be heard directly by the Supreme Court, such as capital punishment cases.

The Court of Appeals plays a significant role in interpreting state law and ensuring consistent application across the lower courts.

Supreme Court

The Arkansas Supreme Court is the highest court in the state, responsible for ensuring justice and interpreting the state’s constitution, laws, and regulations.

This court has ultimate jurisdiction over appeals from lower courts, although it may transfer some cases to the Court of Appeals at its discretion.

The Supreme Court’s decisions act as binding precedent for all lower courts in Arkansas, setting legal standards and interpretations for the entire state.

Types of Court Records Available

Civil Court Records

In Arkansas, civil court records can be accessed through the Arkansas Court Case Lookup. These records include information on civil lawsuits, small claims court cases, and family law matters.

Civil records may provide details about the parties involved, case initiation dates, case summaries, judgments, and court orders.

Criminal Records

Criminal records can also be found through the Arkansas Court Case Lookup and contain information related to criminal cases tried in the state.

They include details such as arrest records, reports, police statements, charges, and court proceedings. Additionally, these records may provide information on sentencing, probation, and related legal decisions.

Divorce Records

Divorce records fall under family law in Arkansas and can be accessed through the same Arkansas Court Case Lookup. They contain details about the petitioner and respondent, marriage dissolution date, decree, and any financial agreements, property division, or child custody arrangements made during the divorce process.

Vital Records

Vital records in Arkansas consist of birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. In most cases, these records are not directly available through the court system, but can be requested from the Arkansas Department of Health. However, information about vital events may be included in related court documents, such as civil court records and divorce records.

Overall, Arkansas court records are public and encompass various types of information related to court proceedings, legal decisions, and vital events. The Arkansas Court Case Lookup is a valuable tool for accessing this information, serving as a useful resource for individuals researching legal matters or personal histories.

Exemptions and Limitations

Adoption Records

Adoption records in Arkansas are considered confidential and thus not accessible by the general public. As per the state law, these records can only be accessed by the adoptee, adoptive parents, siblings, or other authorized individuals.

Exempted Records

Under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, certain types of records are exempted from public disclosure. Some examples include:

  • Personal data related to individual privacy
  • Confidential medical, educational, or personnel records
  • Preliminary drafts, notes, and recommendations
  • Records related to ongoing criminal investigations

Keep in mind that these exemptions apply specifically to requests made using the Freedom of Information Act, and not to court records in general.

Sealed Records

In some cases, Arkansas court records may be sealed by a court order, which limits public access to the details of the case. These sealed records typically contain sensitive or confidential information, and are protected under the judicial right to privacy. However, it is important to note that court dockets in Arkansas are still considered public records unless explicitly sealed or restricted by law.

Searching for Court Records

Case Information

Arkansas court records, including case information, are considered public records according to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Case information typically contains details such as the case number, names of parties involved, events, and other relevant data. These records can be accessed through various online platforms, such as CourtConnect, provided that the court uses the Contexte Case Management System.

Case Number

A case number serves as a unique identifier for a specific court case. It is an essential component when searching for court records, as it can help locate the exact record in question. Case numbers can often be found on official court documents, notices, or online databases like Arkansas Court Case Lookup.

Party Name

Searching for court records by party name allows you to find cases involving a specific individual or organization. This method can be useful if you do not have the case number or want to review multiple cases involving the same party. Online platforms such as UniCourt allow users to search for court records using party names in various Arkansas state courts.


Events refer to the actions, motions, hearings, and other significant occurrences within a court case. Keeping track of events is essential for understanding the case’s progress and history. The Arkansas Judiciary website and CourtConnect both provide access to court records containing event information, allowing users to follow the case developments over time.

Remember to maintain a neutral and clear tone, avoiding any exaggerated or false claims when discussing court records and the information they contain. Doing so ensures that the information provided is both accurate and useful to those seeking Arkansas court records.

Additional Information and Resources

Administrative Office of the Courts

The Administrative Office of the Courts in Arkansas serves as the contact point for questions regarding CourtConnect, a tool that provides public access to certain court records. For inquiries about specific cases, individuals are advised to get in touch with the court where the case is filed.

Arkansas Criminal Records

Arkansas court records are considered public information. However, certain aspects of criminal records, such as background checks, may require different approaches for accessing them. The Arkansas Judiciary offers information about obtaining case records, opinions, dockets, and other court-related information. Additionally, to obtain copies of Appellate Court records, requesters can contact the court directly at their Little Rock office, either by phone or via a written request.

Resources for Requesters

Arkansas has a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that allows the public to inspect and obtain copies of records. The state has various court systems, including District Courts, County Courts, and City Courts, as detailed on Each of these courts may have different procedures and fees for accessing records. For example, the Post Prison Transfer Board’s meetings must be open so the public can access their findings, though inmate interviews can be closed, as outlined in the Reporters Committee Open Government Guide.

Keep in mind that while many records are publicly available, there may still be limitations or legal restrictions on certain information. Always consult the appropriate court or agency for specific details on how to access Arkansas court records.

How to Address Sealed or Incorrect Information

Court Order

If you find that your Arkansas court records contain sealed or incorrect information, you can request a court order to correct or seal the information. For instance, if you have a conviction that is eligible for sealing, the process would involve submitting a petition to the appropriate circuit court with jurisdiction over the case.

You will need to provide supporting documents and relevant information to the court, such as your conviction details and any rehabilitation efforts made since the conviction. When you submit a petition, the court will review the documents to determine if sealing or correcting the record is warranted.

Dispute and Appeal Process

In cases where you believe an error exists within your Arkansas court records, you can initiate the dispute and appeal process. This process generally consists of contacting the county clerk or court administrator responsible for maintaining those records. You should provide evidence for disputing the incorrect information in your records, such as court documents or affidavits, to support your claim.

After you file a dispute, the court will review the submitted evidence and make a determination on whether to correct the information. If the court’s decision is not in your favor, you can appeal the decision to a higher court. For example, if the circuit court denies your petition to seal a conviction, you have the option to appeal the decision and present your case in front of a higher-level court.

Keep in mind that the legal process to address sealed or incorrect information in your Arkansas court records may require research and a thorough understanding of the court system. You may also consider consulting an attorney to guide you through the process and ensure that your case is properly presented to the court.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to access Arkansas court records?

Arkansas court records can be accessed online through CourtConnect, a service provided by the Arkansas Judiciary. CourtConnect allows the public to view court records for those courts in Arkansas that use the software. Remember that some information might be limited based on the court’s reporting method.

Searching court case info?

To search for court case information, visit the AOC CourtConnect website. You can find basic case information, such as the case ID, description, and the judge assigned to the case. However, note that details about other parties involved may be limited.

Are divorce records public?

Yes, divorce records are considered public records in Arkansas, as stated in the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This means that anyone can access divorce records, as they are part of the official duties supported by public funds.

How to look up criminal records?

You can look up criminal records in Arkansas through the Arkansas Criminal History (ARCH) system. This online database allows the public to obtain accurate criminal history information from a reliable source. The ARCH system was created in accordance with Act 1185 of 2015, directing the Arkansas State Police to provide criminal history information.

Public access to police records?

Police records, like other official government documents, are generally considered public records in Arkansas. As with court records, the Arkansas FOIA dictates that police records are considered public records, and can be accessed by the public.

Finding case details in Arkansas?

To find case details in Arkansas, you can use the CourtConnect platform, as previously mentioned. Depending on the court’s reporting method, you may find limited information about the case, including the case ID, description, the judge presiding over the case, and the parties involved.

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