Court Runner Network
What is a court runner?
A court runner is a person who goes to the court house and transacts directly with the court clerk to obtain copies of official court records held by the court.
Is it always necessary to use a court runner to obtain court records?
No. In some instances a court record may be available online from the court directly or may be requested and delivered by mail.
Do court runners only retrieve court records?
No. The term "court runner" is a shorthand way to describe anyone whose business involves traveling to a government office to obtain copies of public records that are available only in person or where expedited retrieval may be accomplished by an in-person request.
While court runners often retrieve documents filed with courts, a court runner may also obtain other documents that are not court filings, such as deeds, mortgages, and liens filed with county recorder’s offices, documents filed with administrative agencies, and other records unrelated to civil and criminal actions.
Why are court runners necessary?
Although some courts scan some or all of the records filed with them, and make the records available online for download, most currently do not. In order to obtain copies of court records that are available only in paper format, a person must physically go to the court and obtain hard copies of the records sought. In addition, even when court records are available online, certified copies of court records are often only available by in-person request.
What is a certified copy?
A "certified copy" is a copy of a court document or other official record that has been stamped or impressed with information by the clerk "certifying" that the copy is a true and correct copy of the original. Many courts and other government agencies require certified copies to be used in any submissions made to them.
Why is it better to have a court runner get the document?
The way records are organized, stored, and obtained can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Court runners are familiar with the ins and outs of the courts and other government offices they frequent. They stand in long lines so you don’t have to, interact with clerks that they often know by name, know what fees must be paid, review files or other records that can often be confusing, and generally navigate a process that can be difficult and time consuming for the layperson.
Court runners are particularly helpful when it is necessary to do extra "digging" for information; for example, when a file goes missing, has been sent offsite, has been reorganized by the court clerk and no longer matches the court’s own document index (known as a "docket"), or when the court’s docket is incomplete or faulty. Because of their experience, court runners often know best how to deal with unusual document retrieval situations.