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Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Public Records

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Are Hawaii Court Records Public?

Yes, Hawaii court records are public, and like every other public record in the state, they are accessible via various means. The Hawaii Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA) corroborates this assertion. The Act, established in 1975, stipulates that all records generated and maintained by government agencies at all levels in the state are public. They may be in written, electronic, visual, and auditory, or other forms. All the branches of the Hawaii government are subject to this Act. Individuals can request public records in Hawaii without disclosing the purpose of the request.

Disclosure of some data constitutes privacy invasion and breach of secrecy, and as such, are exemptions of the Hawaii Uniform Information Practices Act. These include criminal investigations, psychological, medical, or psychiatric information, personal files, and social services or welfare benefits information. Others are records of a current judicial proceeding in which an agency that is receiving the request is a party, budget worksheets, unfiled committee reports, and confidential government records. Generally, the Uniform Information Act gives up to ten days for record custodians to respond to a request for public records. Departments that cannot provide public records within ten days of an application must notify the requestor and ensure to complete the search within another ten days. The Office of Information Practices is dedicated to the access of Hawaii public records in the State of Hawaii.

How Do I Find Court Records in Hawaii?

The first step to take when trying to obtain court records in the State of Hawaii is to know the court where such court records reside and the case type. Interested persons may inspect and copy court records by visiting the courthouses that heard the cases of interest, provided they are not exempt from public disclosure. Additionally, the Hawaii State Judiciary created online databases for accessing public court records. While many court records are available on these platforms, some may not be at all or have incomplete case information. In such situations, the members of the public may contact the clerks of courthouses where they are being kept. Currently, the Hawaii State Judiciary uses the eCourt Kokua and Ho'ohiki platforms as online court record repositories. Each of them keeps records of different courts and cases. Interested persons may contact each Hawaii courts at the following addresses for inquiries on obtaining court records at the courthouses:

Circuit Court

Ka`ahumanu Hale
Legal Documents Branch
777 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-5093
Phone: (808) 539-4300
Email: HoohikiHelp@courts.Hawaii.gov

Family Court

Ronald T. Y. Moon Judiciary Complex
Legal Documents Branch
4675 Kapolei, Hawaii 96707-3272
Phone: (808) 954-8310
Email: HoohikiHelp@courts.hawaii.gov

District Court

Kauikeaouli Hale
Legal Documents Branch – Files & Services
1111 Alakea Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-2801
Phone: (808) 538-5149
(Requests strictly by mail)

Kauikeaouli Hale

Traffic Violations Bureau
1111 Alakea Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-2801
Phone: (808) 538-5100

eCourt Kokua

The eCourt Kokua provides public access to specific records of certain courts in Hawaii. It is publicly available through the Hawaii State Judiciary website, and most documents on the Portal come at a fee. The Portal contains District Court civil and criminal cases, Circuit Court civil and criminal cases, Land Court and tax appeal court cases, Family (Adult) Court criminal cases, and traffic cases. Regular and certified copies of documents on the Portal currently costs $3 and $5, respectively. Users can subscribe for $125 per quarter or $500 per year for unlimited single downloads of public documents. eCourt Kokua offers three methods of finding Hawaii court records. These include:

  • Party Search - Search for case details by names of persons or business and government agency, and party ID.
  • Vehicle Search - Find case details by VIN or license plate.
  • Case Search - Search for case details on the Portal by case ID or citation number.

Once the search is complete and the case of interest displayed, users should scroll down to the Dockets section at the bottom of the page. They may then click the PDF icon of the case. A popup window will appear asking if the user wants to purchase a regular or certified copy. Select one and then click Add to Cart. There is a View/Purchase Documents tab on the eCourt Kokua page where users will find all documents already added to their carts. Interested persons may review the list, click purchase and pay with a credit card. The Hawaii State Judiciary provides a guide to purchasing documents on eCourt Kokua.

Ho'ohiki

Interested persons can access information on civil cases filed in the Family Courts using Ho'ohiki. Case information on this platform is updated every evening, daily but does not provide access to court documents. Users cannot find information from confidential suits using Ho'ohiki, but data such as case title, document list, and party list are available for public access. Requestors may query the Portal for case information by name or case IDs. Individuals who wish to copy court documents of Family Court civil cases should contact the legal documents office of the courthouse keeping such case files.

Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:

  • The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method. 
  • The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states. 

While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources. 

How Do Hawaii Courts work?

The Hawaii Court system is the state's judicial branch. It is a unified system and operates under the supervision of the Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court. The primary function of the judiciary branch is to serve justice efficiently and impartially per the state laws. The Hawaii court system consists of:

  • The Supreme Court
  • Intermediate Court of Appeals
  • Circuit Court
  • Family Court
  • District Court
  • Environmental Court
  • Land Court
  • Tax Appeal Court
  • The Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts

The Hawaii Supreme Court hears appeals before it upon applications for writs of certiorari to the state's Intermediate Court of Appeals. It is the highest court in Hawaii and has final decisions over appeals from the lower courts. The court is responsible for making court rules and procedures for all state courts, disciplining, and licensing attorneys. It also has exclusive jurisdiction over election cases. The Supreme Court justices are selected using a system in which the Hawaii Judicial Selection Commission sends candidates lists to the governor. The governor then appoints from that list but is subject to the approval of the Hawaii State Senate. The Hawaii Supreme Court has five justices, each of whom serves a renewable ten-year term,  and one of them serves as the Chief Justice.

The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals is the second-highest court in the state and an appellate court. Most appeals from the state trial courts and agencies are heard at this court. It has discretionary authority to hear cases involving a question of law submitted without a prior suit. The court is made up of six judges who serve a term of ten years each. These six judges sit in panels of three to decide on cases brought before the court. An application to the Hawaii Supreme court under the circumstances set out by the Hawaii Revised Statutes may transfer cases from the Intermediate Court of Appeals to the state's highest court.

The Hawaii Circuit Court has general jurisdiction in all the state's civil and criminal cases. It hears misdemeanor violations and mechanic's liens cases transferred from the District Court for jury trials.  The court has exclusive authority in criminal felony cases, probate matters, and civil cases where the amount involved is over $40,000. It also has concurrent jurisdiction with the District Court in civil-non jury trials where the contested amount is between $10,000 and $4,000.

The Hawaii Family Court primarily hears and resolves matters involving children and families. The major types of cases tried in this court are domestic violence, domestic relations, and children's concerns. The court provides a fair and quick resolution of legal matters brought before it.

The District Court is a trial court with exclusive jurisdiction over landlord-tenant matters and traffic infractions in Hawaii. It hears civil cases for a specific performance whose fair market value does not exceed $20,000 and criminal offenses punishable by imprisonment of less than one year or fine.

The Environmental Court sits on civil and criminal cases involving streams, water, forests, mountains, air, and beaches. Land Court has exclusive jurisdiction over applications for title registration and rights in land held. The Tax Appeal Court handles all disputes related to income, property, tobacco, excise, and insurance taxes. The responsibility of the Hawaii court system operations, which may include planning, policy, and support services, lies with the Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts.

 

Hawaii Court Structure

What are Civil Court and Small Claims in Hawaii?

Small claims cases are legal disputes between two or more parties heard in a simple and informal way. Small claims cases are also civil cases. Hawaii Small Claims Courts are divisions of the District Court dedicated to handling cases where the compensation sought is less than $5,000. The parties in Hawaii small claims cases may hire attorneys except for cases involving agitations to retain or return security deposit under a residential rental agreement. The Small Claims Division of the Hawaii District Court may hear the following suits:

  • Recovery of money where the amount contested is $5,000 or less. This amount does not include any interest and costs that the court may grant. It may also handle counterclaims by the defendants against the plaintiffs where the amount does not exceed $40,000.
  • Cases involving the recovery of damages or repossession based on unauthorized removal of items from business premises.
  • Disagreements between residential landlords and tenants over security deposits.
  • The return of rented or leased personal property whose worth does not exceed $5,000 and where the rental debt is not more than $5,000.

Small claims cases are usually resolved more quickly than other court cases. Also, the filing procedure is informal. Plaintiffs must, however, be more than 18 years of age, and they are responsible for paying filing fees. Filing small claims cases in Hawaii costs $35 but may be waived if a plaintiff has financial difficulty, with proof. There are rules for filing small claims in the state. They may be filed:

  • In the division where the defendant lives.
  • If the defendant does not reside in the judicial circuit, then in the division where the claim emerged. If the claim arose outside of the judicial circuit, then in any division where the defendant may be seen.
  • For security deposit cases, in the division where the defendant resides, or where the property exists for defendants who live out of state.
  • If the claim emerged outside of the judicial circuit, then in any division where any defendant is present.
  • If defendants are residing in different divisions, then in the division where the claim arose.

What are Appeals and Court Limits in Hawaii?

An appeal helps determine whether a lower court made a mistake in reaching its decisions based on the events that happened there. Typically, it is not a new trial. Appellate courts in Hawaii do not admit new exhibits, evidence, or material not presented to the court from which appeals came. Attorneys who are registered users of the Judiciary Electronic Filing System (JEFS) must electronically file a notice of appeal as required by Rules 2.2 and 4.1 of the Hawaii Electronic Filing and Service Rules. Parties who are representing themselves and attorneys who are exempt from registering as JEFS users may conventionally file the notice of appeal with the clerk of court from which a case is being appealed. A party who files a notice of appeal in a civil case will equally file a Civil Appeal Docketing Statement (CADS). However, an appellate clerk will not reject a notice of appeal that does not have CADS.

The notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days after entry of a decision for civil appeals permitted by law. The same applies to criminal cases. A party may contest the ruling of the Intermediate Court of Appeals by applying for a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court of Hawaii. Such an appeal should be filed within 30 days after the filing of the Intermediate Court of Appeals decision. However, granting or rejecting such an application is a matter within the discretion of the Supreme Court. The Hawaii Judiciary Branch provides residents with Hawaii appeal process workflow and the Rules of Appellate Procedure.

What Are Hawaii Judgment Records? 

Hawaii judgment records are court documents containing the court’s decision on a case in its jurisdiction, following a trial or examination of case facts. The clerk of courts creates judgment records following this decision and stores them along with other court documents relevant to the case.

The Hawaii Uniform Information Practices Act makes these records open to interested members of the public. To obtain judgment records in Hawaii, a requester must know the case number litigants’ names and be prepared to pay the associated court fees. Armed with this information: 

  • Visit the clerk’s office during business hours. 
  • Submit a request for the court record, providing the case number and the litigants’ names. Knowing the presiding judge’s name and the judgment year can also help expedite the search. 

Upon retrieving the judgment records sought, the requester may obtain regular or certified copies. There is also the option to copy the whole case file, especially when the requester seeks additional details.

Besides visiting the clerk’s office for judgment records, interested persons may also order the court documents on the court’s website. However, this option is only available if the court maintains an online repository for case documents. Persons who obtain Hawaii judgment records can expect to see the litigants’ names, the judge’s name, and the judgment issued.

What are Hawaii Bankruptcy Records?

Hawaii bankruptcy records contain all financial and related information on persons or organizations that filed bankruptcy actions in the U.S federal court. These records fall under the umbrella of public records and can therefore be accessed by almost anyone. Filing for bankruptcy provides an automatic stay against the debt-reclaiming actions of most creditors. The debts owed are usually restructured resulting in the creation of a repayment plan or liquidation of assets by the debtors.

In the state of Hawaii, bankruptcy records and associated documents such as Hawaii Liens, writs, and judgments are deemed public record information. Interested and eligible persons may access these records by querying the record custodian in the jurisdiction where the original filing was made.

How Do I Find My Case Number in Hawaii?

A case number can help facilitate a smooth search of records or legal proceedings at courthouses. It is a unique identification number assigned to court cases while being filed. Tagging a suit is essential. It designates a file and differentiates it from previous or subsequent legal matters in the court. Interested persons can visit the courthouses where their cases were filed to find their case numbers. They must have the prerequisite information that will enable the clerk of the court to search in the shortest time possible. It is also possible to find Hawaii court case numbers online.

The State Judiciary Branch manages eCourt Kokua and Ho'ohiki online case repositories. Interested individuals may query eCourt Kokua for cases by party names to retrieve their case number of interest. eCourt Kokua provides information on District Court civil and criminal cases, Circuit Court civil and criminal cases, Land Court and tax appeal court cases, Family (Adult) Court criminal cases, and traffic cases. Likewise, Ho'ohiki is an online repository for civil cases filed in the Family Court. People can find their Family Court civil case numbers by providing their names in the name search field.

Can You Look Up Court Cases in Hawaii?

Looking up court cases in Hawaii is possible and can be achieved remotely or by visiting the local courthouses. The clerks of courts are the custodian of court records and ongoing proceedings. However, individuals who intend to visit a courthouse should endeavor to contact the office of the clerk by telephone before the actual visit. They will provide accurate case numbers, case types, party names, and other information that might aid case file retrieval. Similarly, eCourt Kokua and Ho'ohiki are accessible remotely by anyone. Each case management system provides information on different courts and case types, provided they are public. Interested persons can look up District Court civil and criminal cases, Circuit Court civil and criminal cases, Land Court and tax appeal court cases, Family (Adult) Court criminal cases, and traffic cases on eCourt Kokua. Ho'ohiki is a database for case information on civil cases heard in the Family Court.

Does Hawaii Hold Remote Trials?

Yes. The Hawaii State Judiciary devised a means to participate in remote trials in order to minimize in-person contact and prevent the spread of coronavirus. A remote hearing allows case participants to join court hearings from places other than the actual courtroom using technology. The State Judiciary uses Zoom and Cisco Webex Cloud to hold court hearings, but each court may decide which is best for them. Participants who do not have internet access to participate by video may call a toll-free phone number to participate in court trials. Parties involved in remote trials can use their laptop computers, desk PCs, or other mobile devices installed with Zoom or Webex to participate in a court trial videoconferencing. Before a remote court hearing, the court will provide participants with details on how to participate and state whether it will be by Zoom or Webex. The Hawaii Judiciary proffers the following tips on making the most of remote trial participation:

Before The Trial

  • Participants should download the Cisco Webex or Zoom App and test their choice device to use for the video conference at least one day in advance.
  • Participants should sit in front of a neutral background, such as a wall, in a well-lit area where they will not be disturbed.
  •  Participants should dress as they would in the courtroom.
  • Participants should use earbuds or headphones to improve sound quality.
  • If participants would be using exhibits, they should clearly label all documents and send them to the court and all parties at least 24 hours before the hearing.

During The Trial

  • Log in to the meeting at least ten minutes before the scheduled start time.
  • Participants should keep their microphone on “mute” when they are not speaking.
  • Participants must not make any recording of the hearing. If they do, the court may sanction them.
  • If a participant needs to display an exhibit that was not sent to the court in advance, they can tell the court about it during the call. The staff member hosting the meeting will show it so all meeting participants can see such an exhibit.

What is the Supreme Court Of The State Of Hawaii?

Established in 1959, the Supreme Court is the state's court of last resort and hears the following types of cases:

  • Complaints regarding elections
  • Reserved questions of law from the Land Court, Circuit Court, and the Tax Appeal Court
  • Applications for writs to public officers and judges

The court has the responsibility of disciplining judges and attorneys. It also licenses and regulates attorneys.  The Supreme Court makes rules of practice for all state courts and has appellate jurisdiction over lower courts’ decisions. Five justices sit on the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii, one of whom is the Chief Justice.

Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals

The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals is an intermediate appellate court that hears all appeals from the state's trial courts and some agencies. Established by the Hawaii Constitution in 1959, the court consists of six judges who sit in panels of three to rule on cases brought before them. At the Supreme Court's discretion, legal suits from the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals may be transferred to it. Each one of the six judges of the Intermediate Court of Appeals serves ten-year terms.

Hawaii Circuit Courts

The Hawaii Circuit Court has general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases, and it is where jury trials happen. The court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Hawaii District Court when it comes to civil non-jury proceedings in which the contended amounts are between $10,000 and $40,000. It exercises exclusive authority in probate matters, guardianship cases, criminal felony cases, and civil cases in which the amount in controversy is more than $40,000.

Hawaii District Courts

The Hawaii District Court is a trial court in the state with jurisdiction over the following cases:

  • Civil cases for specific performance when the fair market value does not exceed $20,000
  • Traffic violations
  • Appeals from administrative denials of motor vehicle registration
  • Violations of state laws or county ordinances
  • Criminal offenses that are punishable by imprisonment not exceeding one year
  • Civil actions in which the debt, amount, damages, or value of the property claimed does not exceed $40,000. The District Court does not have jurisdiction over actions for libel, slander, defamation of character, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, breach of promise of marriage, or seduction
  • Landlord-tenant dispute
  • Ejectment proceedings, where the title to real estate does not come into question
  • Small claims cases where the amount claimed does not exceed $5,000
  • Probable cause hearings for felony cases

Hawaii Family Courts

The Hawaii Family Court handles cases involving children, domestic violence, and domestic relations. It also hears cases regarding adult guardianships, civil commitment, and adult abuse. The Family Court provides a speedy, fair, and economical platform for resolving family and children related legal matters. It was established in 1965.

Hawaii State Archives

State Archives

Search Includes

  • Arrests & Warrants
  • Criminal Records
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies & Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Marriages & Divorces
  • Death Records
  • Birth Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • Unclaimed State Funds
  • Relatives & Associates
  • Address Registrations
  • Affiliated Phone Numbers
  • Affiliated Email Addresses

Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.

Hawaii

The Aliʻiōlani Hale Courthouse was built between 1871 and 1874 in Honolulu.

  • Hawaii has 4 different courts. They are the Supreme Court, the Intermediate Court of Appeals, the Circuit Courts, and the District Courts.
  • The Supreme Court of Hawaii has 5 judicial positions, each who serve for 10 years. It was first established in 1841.
  • The Hawaii State Intermediate Court of Appeals holds jurisdiction over appeals originating in lower courts. They have 6 judicial positions with 10 year terms each.
  • The Hawaii State Circuit Courts are trial courts of general jurisdiction. They serve as the primary civil and criminal courts of Hawaii.

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