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Hawaii Court Case Search — Find Your Lawsuit

Dena Standley | October 19, 2022

Dena Standley
Legal Expert, Paralegal
Dena Standley, BA

Dena Standley is a seasoned paralegal with more than 20 years of experience in legal research and writing, having received a certification as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal from Southern Technical College.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Searching for your Hawaii court case online is like ^^

Summary: If you are trying to look up your court case online in Hawaii, you can use eCourt KōKua. Below is SoloSuit's guide to Hawaii's civil court structure and how to search for your court case online in there.

It's important to stay on top of any lawsuit against you. You need to ensure that the plaintiff's complaints are valid, respond within the required time frame, and prepare your defense. On the other hand, if you file a case (a bankruptcy case, for example), you should also keep up with any developments.

Thanks to technology, visits to the court clerk are not the only way to know if someone has filed a court case against you. Access to public records allows you to see any judgments entered against you and any upcoming issues and court hearings.

The Right to Information Act allows access to public court records in Hawaii. Remember that there's a difference between public records and criminal records. Although civil cases may be available to the general public, they don't stay on your record, as do criminal cases.

Let's find out how you can search for a court case in Hawaii, but first, let's explore Hawaii's court structure system.

How is Hawaii's court system structured?

In order to find your case information online or in person, it's important to understand how the civil courts are structured in Hawaii. When you know what courts have jurisdiction over certain types of cases, it will be easier for you to narrow down the court to which your case is assigned.

When a civil case is filed, it is assigned to the District Court. District Courts handle all small claims, up to $5,000 and other civil cases up to $40,000.

If a case exceeds the monetary limits assigned to District Courts, then it will be handled by the Circuit Court of that geographic area. Circuit Court has jursidiction over civil cases that involve $40,000 or more. Hawaii's civil courts are divided into four judicial districts:

  • First Circuit: Covers the island of O`ahu and other islands of the State not included in a different circuit.
  • Second Circuit: Consists of Maui, Moloka`i, Lana`i, Kaho`olawe, and Molokini islands.
  • Third Circuit: The island of Hawaii.
  • Fifth Circuit: Islands of Kaua`i and Ni`ihau.

There was a Fourth Circuit, but it merged with the Third Circuit in 1943.

If a civil case is appealed, it will first land in the Intermediate Court of Appeals. Most civil cases do not move beyond this level. However, cases that rise above the Court of Appeals are heard by the Hawaii State Supreme Court.

The state has a highly integrated judicial system. For instance, different judicial districts have similar forms, paperwork, general rules, and procedures. Find more detailed information here.

The graphic below further illustrates how the civil courts are structured in Hawaii:

hawaii court structure

Visit the clerk of court

The clerk of court can access all case documents. You may mail the request or walk into their office. Sometimes walk-ins are also required to write a formal request to access court records.

Although it can be inconvenient, these visits are usually more productive as you get comprehensive details of the lawsuit. If you don't know the case number, search for it on the computers provided on the premises. You may then pick up the physical documents from the records office.

Use eCourt Kokua to find your Hawaii court case online

One popular way to find current court cases online is eCourt KōKua. Previously eCourt KōKua was reserved for criminal cases. However, since its sister Ho'ohiki was terminated, you can search for civil and criminal cases here. You can search for and find District court civil cases, Circuit Court civil cases, Land Court and Tax Appeal Court cases, and Family Court civil cases on eCourt KōKua.

Knowing the county where the case is filed can help you get your documents faster. The state of Hawaii only has five counties: Hawaii, Honolulu, Kalawao, Kauai, and Maui counties.

In order to search your case, you will need to provide one of the following: the names of the parties involved,

  • First and last name (if only people are involved).
  • Name of the company (if a business is involved).
  • Case number (for example, 1DRC-22-0001111 would be a case in the District Court of the 1st Circuit, filed in 2022). Keep in mind that the case number may have unique formatting, depending on which court it is in and the case type.

For District and Circuit Court civil cases, you can only view current cases filed in late 2019 now. Family Court civil cases are even newer, starting from April 2022. Check the website for any updates.

Remember that eCourt Kōkua isn't affiliated with the judiciary. They provide access to public records as a courtesy to the public. Always check the cost implications before you commit to using their services. They may also charge fees if you want to view or purchase certain documents.

PACER is a great tool for federal court case searches online

There are government websites where you can access court records depending on the type and level of court.

Each location in the US may be subject to either state courts or federal courts. If a lawsuit begins in a state court, it may be bumped up to federal court. Usually, only civil cases with high dollar amounts are in federal court. Debt collection cases are almost always in state court. Federal cases in Hawaii go to the 9th Circuit of United States District Courts. Here's a map of all the federal circuits.

The US District Courts use PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) to provide information to the public. So if you are trying to find a federal court case online, you are within your rights.

If you don't find the files you are looking for, the case locator can help. PACER Case Locator (PCL) is a nationwide search tool to check whether you are a party to federal litigation. To use PCL, you need to be a registered member. You can sign up online if you don't have an account.

You will need to pay for downloaded records by page, but you can't spend more than $3 on one document. If you have any questions about finding your case on PACER, you can ask online or browse through the already answered FAQs.

At PACER, you can search for the case by:

  • Specific court
  • National index
  • Court opinions
  • Phone access to court records

Go to PACER, select "Find Case" at the top of the page, and choose how you want to search for the case in the drop-down button. Remember that not all court files are available electronically. Some (like those involving minors) may require you to visit the courthouse.

Defend yourself in court against debt collectors in Hawaii

Your first line of defense in any court case is filing an Answer. You have 20 days to draft and send your response to the court if a debt collector sues you in Hawaii.

After filing your response, prepare to make your case in court. Take advantage of the statute of limitations in Hawaii. If the debt collector waits too long to file, it will be thrown out.

Now you don't have to lose sleep over suspected court cases. You can quickly look those up, file an Answer, and prepare to win. SoloSuit also provides valuable documents to help the average consumer win a debt collector's lawsuit without having to hire a lawyer.

Check out this video to learn more about how to beat debt collectors in court:

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James

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