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South Carolina 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.

Looking for your South Carolina court records online is like ^^

Summary: You can look up your South Carolina court case status on South Carolina's Judicial Branch website. Below is SoloSuit's guide on South Carolina's civil court system, how to search for cases online there, and how to access court records in person.

South Carolina courts provide an online portal for finding your court case.

If you've been sued for a debt, it's crucial to keep tabs on your case. Frequently, collectors don't properly serve defendants with the case documents. So, finding your case online is helpful for reviewing the progress of your case.

You can lookup your case on South Carolina's Judicial website, here.

Finding your case isn't always easy, so in this article we'll show you what you need to know about searching for your court case in South Carolina.

We'll start off by reviewing the civil court structure of South Carolina.

Understand the South Carolina civil court system

In order to find your case information online or in person, it's important to understand how the civil courts are structured in South Carolina. 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. In South Carolina, there are four levels of courts that deal with civil cases:

  • Supreme Court
  • Court of Appeals
  • Circuit Courts
  • Magistrate Court

The Supreme Court is the highest level of court, and it deals with civil cases that have been appealed from the lower level courts. Likewise, the Court of Appeals handles cases that have been appealed.

The Circuit Court has general jurisdiction over civil cases in South Carolina with no monteary limits. It also handles cases that have been appealed from the Magistrate Court. This means that many civil cases will be initiated in the Circuit Court.

The Magistrate Court only deals with small claims cases that involve $7,500 or less.

The graphic below further illustrates South Carolina's civil court structure:

hawaii court structure

How do court cases numbers work in South Carolina?

South Carolina adopted a uniform case numbering system back in 1974. With this system, each case number identifies the year (two digits), court (CP , GS, DR, or JU), county (numeric code) and sequential number of that case within a given calendar year.

For example, case number 2022-CP-23-001234 would be the 1,234th Common Pleas case filed during 2022 in Greenville County.

You can check your county's numeric code on South Carolina's rules of civil procedure.

Access your South Carolina court records online

South Carolina has instituted an online case lookup tool to give access to those searching for cases in the state. You can search the South Carolina Judicial Branch by visiting the website, selecting the county, agreeing to the Terms of Service, and then searching for your case.

In order to search for your case online with this tool, you will need to provide some or all of the following information:

  • Case Number: Each case is assigned a case number for organizational purposes, and this is the easiest way for you to search for and find your case online. When you receive notification of your lawsuit, the case number should be listed on the court documents.
  • Case Type: There are several different case types, but if you're being sued for a debt you owe, the case type will be considered civil.
  • Party Name: This is your first and last name, or the first and last name of the party involved in the case (either the person being sued or the person suing).
  • Business Name: If you're being sued by a company, you can also enter the business name instead.
  • Action Type: The action type is the specific legal action that was filed into the court system. There are many options for action type, but you usually don't need to enter this information to be able to find your case online.
  • Filing Date: Finally, if you know the exact date (or even a date range) of when the case was filed in the court, you can use the date to search for the case.

Note that you can also narrow your search by selecting the court your case is in, as well as the division.

Once you've found your case, click on the case number that is highlighted in blue, and it will take you to a new page where you can view all the scheduled events pertaining to that case, the official case status, and all the documents that have been filed into the case.

If you can't find your court records online, try calling or visiting the courthouse in person.

Access your South Carolina court records in person

For physical copies of records, residents have numerous options. For example, the Circuit Courts hear all civil cases in South Carolina. In addition, Small Claims Court divisions of Magistrate Courts deal with civil cases, including small claims cases for amounts not exceeding $7,500.

Each divisional clerk's office at Charleston, Columbia, Florence, and Greenville has public access to computer terminals. You can search case information by case number, party name, or filing date range. Expect to pay $.10 per page for printing from these terminals.

For copies by the Clerk's Office, you may have to pay $.50 per page in advance, and certified copies cost $11.00 each. You must request the documents in person or by written request because of the prepayment requirement and not over the phone.

Your total fee and estimated time frame are based on the number of pages copied. Once you find the desired records, you can collect them or request the clerk to mail them.

Find your courthouse's address and the court clerk's number on the South Carolina Judicial Branch's website. There is a County Information Lookup tool on the left hand side of the page where you can select a county from a dropdown menu, which opens a new page with all the courts located within that county and their addresses and clerk contacts.

Request copies from National Archives And Records Administration

Each state 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 South Carolina go to the 4th Circuit of United States District Courts. Here's a map of all the federal circuits.

If you are involved in a federal case in the District of South Carolina, you can still search your court records online or request them through the court clerk. Here's how.

Using the Federal Records Center's SmartScan service program, the court can scan and email your order if it contains 100 pages or less. It costs $19.90 for the service (covers a $10 Judiciary fee and a $9.90 FRC charge for pulling and filing the paper record), plus $0.65 for each PDF page.

The court cannot certify documents through electronic access since the original record is not in their possession. Send a SmartScan request to the appropriate divisional office, and you will receive a response within a week.

If you wish to view and copy a paper file, the fee for the clerk to retrieve the first box of records from NARA is $64 and $39.00 for each additional box. A request to the National Archives And Records Administration (NARA) must include the case file's Accession Number and Location Number. The FORMS section under Record Retrieval contains many of these numbers listed by the year and number of the case.

If the case is not listed here, you must contact the Clerk's Office for the Accession Number and Location Number. Lastly, money orders, personal checks, and credit cards are all accepted for making payments.

South Carolina has a unique system of assigning case numbers

Electronic case file filing (CM/ECF) began in February 2005 in the District of South Carolina. Searching for South Carolina case records is available for all 46 counties. Hence, the Clerk's Office no longer maintains case files. Court documents and dockets are kept electronically at and via PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records).

The Clerk's Office files and retrieves documents based on case numbers. The party index may help identify the case number in the case's absence number. You can view the party index during weekdays from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm at Charleston, Columbia, Florence, and Greenville staffed offices. If you ask the Clerk's Office to do a name search, the cost is $31.00 per name, and all search requests must be in writing.

Respond to a lawsuit with SoloSuit

If you've been sued for a debt you owe, SoloSuit can help you respond in minutes. The first step to winning your debt collection lawsuit in South Carolina is to respond to the case with a written Answer. In South Carolina, you have 30 days to respond before you lose by default. When you lose by default, the debt collector can garnish your wages or put liens on your property.

To learn more about how to Answer a debt lawsuit, check out this video:

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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.

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