How to Find a Court Date in NYC

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Finding a court date in New York City is now relatively easy for anyone with internet access. In fact, the entire court system for New York City is readily accessible online, and the schedule of court dates is maintained in a timely manner. You can even sign up for the New York State Unified Courts eTrack system to receive automatic notifications about pending court cases. The only challenge in discovering this information is to determine what court has jurisdiction over your case.

How to Determine the Proper NYC Court

First, determine whether your legal matter is a civil or a criminal case. The Civil Court of the City of New York handles civil matters that are for amounts of $25,000 or less as well as other civil cases that are referred by the New York Supreme Court. The Civil Court of the City of New York also deals with landlord-tenant matters and housing code violations, and has a small claims division for civil matters under $5,000. Civil matters for amounts in excess of $25,000 are handled in the New York Supreme Court.

Criminal matters that are misdemeanors or simple violations are handled in the Criminal Court of the City of New York. This Court may also conduct some of the preliminary hearings in felony cases. Beyond possibly the initial hearings, criminal matters that are felonies are handled in the New York Supreme Court.

If your matter is not civil or criminal, then determine whether it is a family law or probate matter. Most family law matters, including custody and visitation, support, family offense (domestic violence), persons in need of supervision, delinquency, child protective proceedings (abuse and neglect), foster care approval and review, termination of parental rights, adoption and guardianship are handled in the New York Family Court. Legal matters involving probate issues, such as the probate of wills and the administration of estates, are handled in the New York Surrogate Court.

Where to Find Your Court Date

After you have determined the nature of the legal issue, start your court date search by visiting the New York State Unified Court System website at nycourts.gov. There is a separate portal for each court where your case may be heard: civil, criminal or family.

  1. For civil matters that will be heard in the New York Supreme Court, visit the WebCivil Supreme website. You can search for information on both past and future court dates by index number, party name, attorney or law firm name, or the name of the justice handling the case. 
  2. For cases in Family Court or Integrated Domestic Violence court, visit the WebFamily website. You can search for these cases by file or docket number.
  3. For criminal cases in New York State Courts, search the WebCriminal website for information on pending criminal cases with future court dates by case number or party name. 
  4. For New York City Civil Court cases, visit WebCivil Local and search for cases by name, attorney, judge or case index number.
  5. New York City Surrogate's Court does not have an e-Court tracking system, so to find court dates, call the Surrogate's Court clerk in your county for information. You can find phone numbers online.

Additionally, for active cases in the Civil Supreme Court, the Civil Court of the City of New York or any NYC criminal court, sign up for the New York State Unified Court System eTrack service, which allows users to track case activity. The service will send you an email when any activity, such as a new court date or filing, occurs in a case you have chosen to follow. You can also schedule reminders that will notify you one, seven, 15 or 30 days before your court appearances.

References

About the Author

Sally Brooks is a writer living in New York City with her chunky toddler and patient husband. She graduated magna cum laude from the University Cincinnati College of Law and her work has been featured in Jurist and the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review.

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