Vermont Court Records

Why Vermont Court Records are Available to the Public?

In 1970, the Vermont State Legislature passed a law named the Vermont Public Records Law. This law enabled the last changes in 2000 and aims to make sure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public.

What Court Records Access Means To You?

The law is similar to the Vermont Open Meetings Law which legislates the process by which public meetings are held. The Vermont Public Records Law intent is that all records maintained by state and local government entities be available for public access and copying.

Accountability to the Public

When the legislature enacted Vermont Public Records Law, it expressively declared that access to information about the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state, A Matter of Public Record 2014.pdf. Common law in Vermont established a right to inspect governmental records before ordering the Public Records Law in Sections 315 – 320 of Chapter 5 of Title 1 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated. The relatively short statute has a policy statement highlighting the balance between individuals’ right to privacy and the public need for transparency, so allowing citizens to inspect, copy, and see all public records. By promoting prompt public access to government records, the Vermont Public Records Law to safeguard the government's accountability to the public.

How the Vermont Court Process Functions?

Most cases in Vermont courts begin in one of the 14 superior or trial courts located in each of the state’s 14 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.

The filing 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 need a U.S. citizenship 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 offer you an interpreter.

You can find an interpreter by using the Vermont Court Interpreter Search page. Also, see the webpage with interpreter information on this website Legal Language Services.

How Vermont Court Records Are Structured?

The court records group is for civil and small claims matters. Civil cases are matters where the petitioner is seeking more than $150,000. Close to 175,000 civil court records 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
  • Emloyment
  • Enforcement of Judgment
  • Unlawful Detainers
  • Judicial Review
  • Complex Litigation
  • Small Claims Appeals

Small Claims Court filings are cases where the petitioner is seeking $5,000 or less and is not represented by counsel. Close to 100,000 of small claims cases 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.
Vermont 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
Vermont Addison County Courthouse 1785

Vermont Addison County Courthouse 1785

  • State archives hold over 25,000 cubic feet of records.
  • The Superior Courts exercise exclusive jurisdiction over most civil cases, including lawsuits over small claims.
  • The highest court in Vermont is the Vermont Supreme Court.
  • The Vermont Supreme Court hears appeals directly from the trial courts, as Vermont has no intermediate appeals court.
  • Copeland Center
  • Howard Center
  • Spectrum Youth&Family Services
  • The Preservation Trust