South Carolina Court Records

Why South Carolina Court Records are Available to the Public

In 1974, the South Carolina State Legislature passed a law named the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. This law was enabled with the last changes in 1987 and aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public.

What Court Records Access Means To You?

The law is similar to the South Carolina Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act intent is to provide the public access to all public records at all government levels and statutes in the state of South Carolina.

Accountability to the Public

When the legislature enacted South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, it expressively declared that access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state, State House Code T30c004. Under the Freedom of Information Act any person, including individuals, corporations, firms, partnerships, associations and other organizations, has the right to request access to public records, including criminal and court records, in South Carolina. By promoting prompt public access to government records, the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act is intended to safeguard the accountability of government to the public.

How the South Carolina Court Process Functions?

Most cases in South Carolina courts begin in one of the 46 superior or trial courts located in each of the state’s 46 counties.

The next level of judicial authority resides with the Court of Appeals. Most cases before the Court of Appeals involves the review of a superior court decision being contested by a party involved in the case.

The Supreme Court serves as the highest court in the state and has the discretion to review decisions of the Court of Appeals in order to settle important questions of law and to resolve conflicts among the Court of Appeals.

Some differences between Civil Court and Small Claims Court below

 Court

Small claims

Civil

Appeal

Only the party who was sued can file an appeal. The person who filed the claim cannot appeal.

Either party can appeal.

Attorney Representation

You cannot have a lawyer file your papers or go to court with you – except for an appeal.

You can have a lawyer file your papers and go to court for you.

Filling fee for either the defendant or the plaintiff’s claim

$30 -$100 per claim

$180 - $320 per claim

Pretrial Discovery allowed

No

Yes

How long to complete your case

30-70 days after the complaint

120 days after you file the complaint

You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to file or defend a case in Small Claims Court. If you do not speak English well, bring someone who speaks English and asks the judge if that person can serve as your interpreter. The court cannot provide you an interpreter.

You can find an interpreter by using the South Carolina Courts Interpreter Search page. Also, see the webpage with interpreter information on this website CATI.

How South Carolina Court Records Are Structured?

The court records category is made up of civil and small claims matters.

Civil cases are matters where the petitioner is seeking more than $250,000. Close to 100,000 unlimited civil court records are filed with the courts annually. Civil cases also include other types of disputes that do not involve money, like cases to resolve (or “quiet”) title to real property, cases asking for civil restraining orders and requests to change your name or your child’s name.

  • Auto Torts
  • Other Personal Injury / Property
    Damage / Wrongful Death
  • Other Tort
  • Other Civil
  • Contracts
  • Real Property
  • Employment
  • Enforcement of Judgment
  • Unlawful Detainers
  • Judicial Review
  • Complex Litigation
  • Small Claims Appeals

Small Claims Court filings are cases where the petitioner is seeking $7,500 or less and is not represented by counsel. Close to 150,000 of small claims cases are filed statewide every year.

Here are some examples of common Small Claims Court cases:

  • Your former landlord refuses to return the security deposit you paid.
  • Someone dents your fender and refuses to pay for the repairs.
  • Your new TV does not work, and the store will not fix it.
  • Your tenant caused damage to the apartment, and the repairs cost more than their security deposit (Note: You cannot use small claims court to evict someone.).
  • You lent money to a friend, and he/she refuses to pay you back.
  • Small Claims Court can also order a defendant to do something, as long as the claim is also asking for money. For example, the court can cancel a contract or the court can order your neighbor to pay you for your lawn mower or order them to return it to you right away.
South Carolina State Archives

State Archives

Results Include

Full State Record Report:

  • Name
  • Location
  • Case Number
  • Case Summary
  • Docket
  • Police Report
  • Court Documents
  • Legal Records
  • Case File
  • Statements
  • Transcripts
  • Legal Forms
  • Case Notes
  • Disposition
  • Trial Records
  • Arbitration
  • Case Evidence
  • Witnesses
  • Interviews
  • Descriptions
  • Mugshots
  • Charges
  • Legal Motions
  • Attorney Records
  • Prosecution Records
South Carolina Supreme Court 1841

South Carolina Supreme Court 1841

  • State archives hold over 2,900 cubic feet of records.
  • There are 2 levels of courts – trial and appellate.
  • The South Carolina Court of Appeals is the intermediate-level appellate court for the state of South Carolina.
  • The South Carolina Circuit Court is the state court of general jurisdiction of the U.S. state of South Carolina. There are 16 Circuit Courts in South Carolina, each in one of the 16 districts.
  • The highest court in South Carolina is the South Carolina Supreme Court.
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