Overview of Access to Case Records
North Dakota state district court case records are generally available to the public, and anyone can request to look at the case records in almost any court case.
Sometimes there's information in a court case record that a person doesn't want made available to the general public.
A party in the case, a victim (in a criminal or delinquency case), or the person about whom information is present in the court case record can ask the court to prohibit access to that information.
The request is made in a written motion to the court. All parties in the case are required to get notice of the motion and a chance to respond, or answer, in writing.
For more details and information about access to North Dakota state court records, go to the Data Access webpage.
Overview of Access to Audio Recordings of Court Proceedings
In general, court proceedings are hearings or trials in a court case. Many court proceedings are recorded.
Parties in a court case are allowed access or copies of audio recordings of court proceedings in their case, free of charge. However, a judge or judicial referee may restrict access to an audio recording, including restricting access to parties.
Non-parties may request in writing a copy of an audio recording of a court proceeding. There are limits to a non-party’s access to a copy of an audio recording. The judge or judicial referee decides whether to approve the request. If the request is approved, the non-party may be required to pay a fee.
A non-party may listen to an audio recording of a court proceeding if suitable, supervised space is available. The non-party can’t record or copy the recording by electronic or other means. However, a judge or judicial referee may restrict access to listening to an audio recording.
A person may make a written motion to ask the judge or judicial referee to limit access or availability of an audio recording to non-parties for the following reasons:
- Access or availability to an audio recording would materially interfere with a party’s right to fair trial;
- A witness or victim in the case objects to access or availability of an audio recording and shows good cause why it shouldn’t be available.
Audio recordings of court proceedings aren’t the official record of the proceeding. Unless a court rule provides otherwise, the transcript of the court proceeding is the official record of the proceeding.
Forms and Guides:
Forms aren't available for every legal issue, circumstance or procedure in a district court civil action. If you don't find a form on this website, the form isn't available through the North Dakota Legal Self Help Center.
You may need to create legal documents yourself. The General-Use forms in the District Court Civil Action Section of this website may be used as a starting point for creating your own legal documents.
Forms for Prohibiting Public Access to Court Case Records & Audio Recordings:
- Motion and Answer to Motion to Prohibit Public Access to Court Records – Civil & Criminal Cases
- May be used to request to prohibit access to all or part of the court case records.
- May be used to answer a request to prohibit access to all or part of the court case records.
- Motion to Prohibit Remote Public Access to Electronic Case Records – Criminal Cases Only
- May be used by the defendant in a criminal case to request to prohibit remote access to the electronic criminal case records. The defendant must have been acquitted, or the charges dismissed.
- If the request is granted, the records remain available by in-person request at the courthouse.
- Motion to Limit Non-Party Access to Audio Recordings of Court Proceedings – Civil & Criminal Cases
- May be used by a party, witness, or victim to ask the court to limit non-party access to audio recordings of court proceedings in the case.
- Answer to Motion to Limit Non-Party Access to Audio Recordings of Court Proceedings – Civil & Criminal Cases
- May be used to object to, or disagree with, the motion to limit non-party access to audio recordings of court proceedings.
Forms for Requesting Access to Audio Recordings:
- Non-Party Request for a Copy of an Audio Recording of a Court Proceeding
- May be used by a non-party to request a copy of an audio recording of a court proceeding in a civil or criminal case.
Selected Statutes (Laws) & Rules
Following are legal research starting points related to public access to court case records and audio recordings. You may need to conduct additional legal research into your legal issue. See the Legal Research Section of this website.
- Rule 40 of the North Dakota Supreme Court Administrative Rules
- Rule 41 of the North Dakota Supreme Court Administrative Rules
- Rule 3.2 of the North Dakota Rules of Court
- Rule 3.4 of the North Dakota Rules of Court
- Rule 47 of the North Dakota Rules of Criminal Procedure
Following are other resources related to public access to court case records that may be of interest.
If you don't understand any of this information, or if you have trouble filling out any of the forms located here, consult a lawyer for help.
The information provided on and obtained from this site doesn't constitute the official record of the Court. This information is provided as a service to the general public. Any user of this information is hereby advised that it is being provided "as is". The information provided may be subject to errors or omissions. Visitors to this site agree that the Court isn't liable for errors or omissions of any of the information provided.
If you have a question relating to a case that is already filed please contact the clerk of court for the county.