Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records

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How do Kansas Courts work?

The Supreme Court is the highest legal authority in the state of Kansas, and has the ability to check decisions made by the Court of Appeals. This allows the Supreme Court to monitor and weigh in on any important legal questions, conflicts, or precedents. The Court of Appeals then carries out a similar functions over the courts below it, but only when one party contests a decision made. These lower courts are made up of the 105 superior or trial courts across the 105 counties in Kansas.

Civil Cases and Small Claims

Civil court and small claims court are both structured differently and deal with different cases and different amounts of money. For example, civil court primarily deals with cases in which the petitioner is looking for over $200,000. There are nearly 150,000 of these cases across Kansas every year. However, the civil courts can also deal with non-monetary cases, such as disputes over property, restraining orders, and name changes. Small claims court, on the other hand, deals with cases in which the petitioner is seeking $4,000 or under, and is not represented by counsel. Nearly 150,000 of these cases are filed each and every year across the state. These cases can range from disputes over repairs and warranties to deposits and loans, plus a whole lot more, as long as the value does not exceed $4,000. The small claims court can also order the defendant into an action, such as paying an amount owed.

Appeals and court limits

The appeals process and the court limits also differ when it comes to civil and small claims issues. For example, small claims court does not allow pre-trial discovery, whereas civil courts do. A person may also hire a lawyer to represent them and file papers on their behalf in civil court, but neither are permitted in small claims cases. Only the defendant may appeal a decision in small claims court, while either party can appeal in a civil matter. There are filing fees and deadlines for both civil and small claims cases. Small claims filing fees are between $30 and $100, and each party is then given 30-70 days to complete their case. On the other hand, civil court cases have a filing fee of between $180 and $320, and each side is then given up to 120 days to complete their case.

Why are court records public?

The Kansas Open Records Act was passed back in 1984, with the latest amendments coming in 2010. The Act was introduced to ensure that residents of Kansas could access all public records at will. All records held by the local and state government can be accessed and copied, providing it is not prohibited by law. Not only does this promote a sense of transparency, but it also safeguards government accountability.

To access records:

Kansas City
500 State Ave
Kansas City, KS 66101
(913) 735-2200
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.



Kansas Court Structure
Kansas State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (316) 333-6723

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


The Chase County Courthouse, located in Cottonwood Falls, was first built in 1873.

  • Kansas has 4 different types of courts. They are the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the District Court, and the Municipal Courts.
  • The Kansas Supreme Court is the highest court in the state. The first chief justice, Samuel Dexter LeCompte, was appointed in 1854.
  • Each of the 7 Kansas Supreme Court Judges serve 6 year terms.
  • The Kansas Court of Appeals was created in 1895 to help cope with the Kansas Supreme Court’s caseload. It was reestablished in 1977 as a 7 member court, which later expanded. Now there are 14 judges serving on the Court of Appeals.