Michigan’s Court System was re-structured in 1963 with their state Constitution, and it includes a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeals, then local trial courts that consist of Circuit Courts, Probate Courts, District/Municipal Courts, Small Claims (which is a division of District Courts) and then finally the Court of Claims.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the state with the Court of Appeals being the intermediate appellate court. The local courts each have specific jurisdiction over regions of the state and also areas of the law. Michigan’s court system works like a pyramid with the bottom section consisting of the trial courts where most legal issues originate then they travel up to the courts of appeal if necessary. The majority of cases are resolved in lower courts, and very few cases ever reach the appellate level.
Michigan’s Probate Courts are separate entities but with a narrow scope of jurisdiction over things like estates, wills, conservatorships, name changes, trusts, guardianships, and mentally ill individuals. There are 78 Probate Courts in the state, and their judges are elected for six-year terms. These courts do not use a jury. Instead, a judge decides all verdicts.
Although the state of Michigan is pretty open with their court records and allows the general public to freely search docket information, they do keep some information private. All party’s names in cases related to adoption, parental rights, and other sensitive legal matters will be suppressed from the files. Typically, juvenile delinquency records, sealed and expunged records are also not available to the public. The federal government also limits the information that can be shown in open records and demands that things like children’s names, social security numbers, banking information, and trade secrets be removed before the files are made public.
The Michigan Courts website is geared toward not only legal professionals but also the public and self-represented individuals. Therefore, they make it easy for someone to file documents in their own case. Along with guides on specific types of cases and how to file, they offer all the forms for downloading right there on the website. They also have an electronic filing option called MiFILE. Even if certain courts do not offer e-filing, users can still use a cloud-based system to file their paperwork for their case. Their website has an entire FAQ section to answer questions and guide patrons on how to use the court system.
Using Infotracer to search for Michigan court records is quick and easy! Infotracer’s extensive database provides access to court cases in Michigan from all over the state, including Wayne County, Oakland County, and Macomb County. Thanks to Michigan’s Open Records Law Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §15.231 et seq., the public has rights to review most all criminal court records, civil cases, landlord/tenant disputes, family court records, bankruptcies, and more!
Anyone can perform a court records search privately without any need for permission or an official reason. The only records that will not be available are court-ordered sealed, confidential, and private records like juvenile court records.
Try Infotracer today to get free instant access to Michigan court records from most courts in the state. Infotracer provides Michigan court records on demand using a simple name search. It is the best way to lookup court cases online from Michigan circuit courts probate courts, district/municipal courts, small claims cases, and even the court of claims.
In 2012, the Michigan courts received 3,613,654 filings. In 2016, the number of filings decreased by 7.1% and counted 3,357,916 filings and had 3,398,371 outgoing cases
|Court Type||Incoming Caseloads|
Domestic relations caseload of Michigan at year end of 2016 has decreased by 2.8% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases have been 117,847 but are higher than in 2015.
|Year||Domestic Relations Caseload||Total Statewide Caseload|
The number of criminal cases in Michigan courts counts to 169,202, with 169,202 felony cases.
|Year||Criminal Caseload||Misdemeanor Caseload||Felony Caseload|
Michigan’s Circuit Courts are the general jurisdiction trial courts for the state, and they handle civil claims where the damages are more than $25,000. They also hear felonies and family issues such as divorce, adoption, domestic violence, paternity, the emancipation of minors, juvenile delinquency, name changes, child abuse and neglect along with guardianships and other matters. Other types of cases heard in Circuit Courts are tort cases, real property cases probate/estate cases, mental health issues, and criminal appeals. Lower trial courts such as the District Courts send their appeals to Circuit Court. There are 57 Circuit Court judges who are elected into office and serve six-year terms.
District Courts are the limited jurisdiction courts for the state, and they are often called the “people’s court.” These courts see more cases than all the rest in the state. The most common type of case is for traffic violations and civil claims of less than $25,000. Other types of cases are landlord-tenant disputes, traffic tickets, misdemeanors, and other minor local ordinance violations. District Courts have a separate division to handle small claims called Small Claims Court. In some areas of the state, counties have chosen to keep a Municipal Court instead of a District Courts. There are about 100 District Courts in Michigan, and the judges are elected into office and serve six-year terms.
Michigan’s Probate Courts have exclusive limited jurisdiction over all probate matters such as wills, estates, trusts, guardianships, conservatorships, name changes, protective orders, adoptions, mental health cases where individuals need to be involuntarily committed and other probate and estate-related matters. Probate Courts do not generally use juries they are overseen by one of the 103 judges in the state. Judges are elected in their district, and they serve six-year terms. There are 78 Probate Courts throughout Michigan. Jury trials are available in some types of Probate Court cases. The Michigan Courts website has a lot of useful information for the public to learn more about Probate Courts.
Michigan also has a stand-alone court called Court of Claims which exclusively handles claims against the state of Michigan. Michigan describes the function of this court as: “The Court of Claims is a court of statewide, limited jurisdiction (PA 164 of 2013) to hear and determine all civil actions filed against the State of Michigan and its agencies. These cases include highway defect, medical malpractice, contracts, constitutional claims, prisoner litigation, tax-related suits, and other claims for money damages.” The Court of Claims uses a judge for all decisions and does not use a jury.