Obtain a Copy of a Court File

The San Diego Superior Court does not send out court files electronically or by fax. In addition, persons are not allowed to use cameras (including phones with cameras) to take pictures of the contents of a file.

General Order of the Presiding Department Order No. 010121-02 In re Procedure Regulating Photography, Recording and Broadcasting in Courthouse

Once you have located the case number and court location, there are a number of ways to obtain a copy of a court record. Records may be requested:

  • On-line when accessing imaged court records for limited case types/locations post 2011.
  • In person at the courthouse or branch location where the record is located.
  • By mailing a request for copies to the office where the record is located, along with appropriate fee.
  • In Probate cases, Probate Form PR-189 - Request for Copies (Probate) can be submitted via e-File or mail to request copies.

Copies of sealed and confidential documents or case files  may not be available without a court order.

In Person

Go to the courthouse where the file is located.  Copy requests must be made to the clerk at least 30 minutes prior to the business office closing.

  • If you do not know the case number, you can look up the case number on the public computer at some court locations. For cases from 1880 to 1964, go to Older Records where the index is located.
  • Provide the court staff at the counter with the case number.
  • A picture identification card must be presented to view case files.
  • The clerk will pull a maximum number of 10 cases per request, per customer, per transaction.
  • Case information (that is public record) and record searches requested by a non-party will be assessed a records search fee (GC 70627(c)) for all searches lasting longer than 10 minutes.
    • A "search" is defined as the total time taken to search the system, print and/or locate the information, and provide it to the requestor whether it is one item or multiple items. Refer to the court's Fee Schedule for the correct fee amount. This fee is for searches only. The time utilized for making copies is included in the copy fee.
  • Order copies from the microfiche/microfilm or file at 50¢ per page. (A page is defined as one side of a document.)
  • Some copy requests may require a minimum of two court days to process.  You will be contacted by court staff when your copy request has been completed, or given a pick-up date at the time of your request.  You must pay for the copies before they are made.

By Mail

Send a letter to the court facility where the case was tried. In the letter, include the following:

  • The case number
  • The names of the parties involved
  • The names of the documents that you want to have copied from the court file

Be aware that a research fee may apply if the search for the documents you have requested takes more than 10 minutes (GC§70627(c)).

Payment via Mail

  • You must include a self-addressed stamped envelope with sufficient postage to have your copies sent to you by Mail.
  • If you do not know how many pages are in the documents that you are requesting or whether a research fee will be charged, make your check payable to "Superior Court" and write on the Memo line Not to exceed $ _____ (on the Memo line you can specify an amount: $20, $30 or whatever you think will cover the cost).
  • To pay by credit card, use the Credit Card Payment form (SDSC Form #ADM-253)
  • A receipt indicating the fee charged will be mailed back to you with your copies.
  • Copy requests received by mail may take several weeks to process.

Methods of Payment

The court accepts:

  • Cash
  • Checks
  • Money orders
  • Credit cards (Visa, Master Card or American Express)