Mississippi Court Records
How do Mississippi Courts work?
The Supreme Court rules as the highest legal authority in the state of Mississippi, and has the ability to oversee and review decisions made by the Court of Appeals. This allows the Supreme Court to weigh in on key legal debates and conflicts. However, the Court of Appeals does have the ability to carry out a similar function over lower courts, but only when one party decides to contest a decision made. These lower courts consist of the 82 trial and superior courts across the state’s 82 counties.
Civil Cases and Small Claims
The structure of small claims courts and civil courts in the state of Mississippi are very different, and the two court types deal with different types of cases and values of money. For example, a small claims court in the state will only deal with cases in which the petitioner is seeking $3,500 or under. There are nearly 150,000 of these cases across the state each and every year. Some examples of small claims court cases can include, disputes over loans, payments, warranties, repairs, deposits, and much more, as long as the value remains under $3,500. The small claims court can also order a defendant into an action, such as paying back an amount owed. On the other hand, civil courts in Mississippi deal with cases in which the petitioner is seeking over $150,000. These are nearly 150,000 of these cases state-wide annually. Some examples of non-monetary civil court cases can include disputes over property, restraining orders, and name changes.
Appeals and court limits
There are also a number of differences between the court limits and the appeal processes in civil and small claims courts in Mississippi. The civil court allows pre-trial discovery, where as small claims courts forbid it. Either party can appeal a final decision made in civil court, but only the sued party/defendant can appeal in small claims court. In civil court, a person may hire a lawyer to represent them and file papers on their behalf, however, neither of these things are permitted in a small claims court. A person has 30-70 days to complete their case in small claims court, after paying an initial $30-$100 for the claim itself. On the other hand, a person has up to 120 days to complete their case in civil court, after a filing fee of between $180 and $320 is paid.
Why are court records public?
The Mississippi Public Records Act was passed in 1941 by state legislature, with the most recent changes coming in 1985. This law was introduced to ensure that all residents within the state have the fundamental right to access all public records. Any public record held by state or local government in Mississippi can be accessed and copied by members of the public, as long as it is not prohibited by law. Not only does this promote a sense of transparency between the government and the residents of the state, but it also safeguards government accountability.
To access records:
Gartin Justice Building
450 High Street
Jackson, MS 39201
601-359-3694 | Fax: 601-359-2407
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.