Public Access to California Court Records

Search online public court records from California state courts for free. UniCourt allows you to lookup civil, family law, probate, small claims, labour, personal injury and other cases from California Superior Courts, Justice Courts, Circuit Courts, & more. With UniCourt, you can look up California State Court cases, find latest docket information, view case summary, check case status, download court documents, as well as track cases and get alerts on new filings.

At UniCourt, you can look up California State Court records by case name, case number, party, attorney, judge, case type, docket entry & more. You can filter search results further by date of filing, jurisdiction, case type, party type, party representation, and more.

About the California Court System

The State of California is home to around 12% of the United States' total population, coming in at just under 40 million residents. With a population that large, it's no wonder that the California court system has the largest number of cases filed, heard, and processed each year in the United States.

Made up of dozens of courts and overseen by the Supreme Court of California, the California court system has been home to some of the most influential and famous cases in American history. In an effort to boost transparency, California publishes most of its cases online, with the Supreme Court publishing weekly case summaries, docket and case searches, pending issues summaries, and minutes, among other resources.

With so much legal information passing through California courts, easy access to court records is vital. UniCourt's online app and Court Data APIs do just that: provide simple, coherent case information and public records on California cases without having to go through a different court portal and case search platform for each new court filing or court system.


California Cases


Court Documents


Docket Entries

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of California was established in 1849 and the court's justices are appointed by the Governor of California. The seven justices, after appointment, are then subject to retention elections by the populace of California. The maximum term a justice may serve is 12 years before they must run for reelection.

The number of petitions brought before the Court each year averages 5,200 writs of certiorari, 3,400 habeas corpus petitions, and 40 death row petitions. However, they only hear approximately 80 writs and petitions, plus 20 death row appeals. Recent and noteworthy cases include In re Marriage Cases and People v. Diaz.

Courts of Appeal

The California Courts of Appeal consist of six appellate courts and over 100 justices. These courts appeal to the Supreme Court of California and the Supreme Court of the United States. The Courts of Appeal have the highest caseload appealed to both the state and federal Supreme Court, and therefore have been involved a variety of high-profile cases.

The Courts of Appeal are located in the following cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, Fresno, and San Jose, respectively. Like the Supreme Court, justices serve 12 year terms before standing for reelection.

Superior Courts

The California Superior Courts are the lowest level courts in the state of California. Each county in California has its own trial court, with a total of 58 across the state, employing nearly 1,500 judges. Judges in California Superior Courts serve for six years before standing for reelection.

The California Superior Courts have heard some of the most famous cases in modern U.S. history, including People v. PetersonPeople v. RamirezThe People v. O.J. Simpson, and The People v. Charles Manson et al.

The Judicial Council

The Judicial Council of California is California's policymaking body for its court system, created in 1926 by constitutional amendment. The Council creates, recommends, and provides policy guidance to California courts, the Governor, and the California Legislature.

Unlike other sections of the California judicial system, the Council is appointed, rather than elected, rotating out completely every three years, with staggered terms. It consists of 21 voting members and a rotating number of advisory members. These members serve on various committees and boards within the Council, where policies are drafted and executed.

Federal Courts

The State of California is home to one federal appeals court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, and four United States district courts: the Central District of California, the Eastern District of California, the Northern District of California, and the Southern District of California.

The 9th Circuit handles cases for Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. It is comprised of 29 active judges, all of whom are appointed for life by the President of the United States. Due to its high number of judges, en banc reviews are limited to the Chief Judge and ten randomly selected judges. Famous cases from the Ninth Circuit include Garland v. Ming Dai and Alston v. NCAA... [+] Read More

The four California-based US District Courts also appoint their judges for life, with a total of 61 judges across all four courts. The Northern District, which handles a large number of patent and intellectual property law due to its proximity to Silicon Valley, is situated in San Francisco, while the Southern District is in San Diego. The Eastern District is headquartered in Fresno, while the Western District is situated in Los Angeles.

[-] Read Less

California Court Statistics

The State of California publishes yearly reports on California state court statistics in an effort to fuel legal transparency. The following statistics are just some of the highlights of the available statistics from the 2022 Court Statistics Report: Statewide Caseload Trends.

  • Over 4.4 million cases were processed through the California Court System.
  • The California Supreme Court issued 59 written opinions, and received 6,522 filings and 6,311 dispositions.
  • The California Courts of Appeal received a total of 15,781 contested matters.
  • 222,381 civil cases were filed with the California Superior Courts, with 62,076 of them being small claims.
  • A total of 3,320,083 criminal cases were filed in the California Superior Courts.