The North Dakota District Courts are trial courts of general jurisdiction in North Dakota. There is a district court in each of the state's 53 counties. The counties are grouped into eight regional judicial districts.
Click on the counties in the map to navigate to see the county's name and in which judicial district it lies. Alternatively, click [show] in the blue bar below to display a list of the counties in each district.
|Northwest||Divide, McKenzie, and Williams|
|Northeast||Benson, Bottineau, Cavalier, McHenry, Pembina, Pierce, Ramsey, Renville, Rolette, Towner, and Walsh|
|North Central||Burke, Mountrail and Ward|
|Northeast Central||Grand Forks, and Nelson|
|East Central||Cass, Steele, and Traill|
|Southeast||Barnes, Dickey, Eddy, Foster, Griggs, LaMoure, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Stutsman, and Wells|
|South Central||Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, Logan, McIntosh, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan, and Sioux|
|Southwest||Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Hettinger, Slope, and Stark|
Court Locations and Information
If you are looking to find a specific court, please see our court locations page.
There are district court services in each of the state’s 53 counties. The district courts are funded by the state of North Dakota. The district courts have original and general jurisdiction in all cases except as otherwise provided by law. They have the authority to issue original and remedial writs. They have exclusive jurisdiction in criminal cases and have general jurisdiction for civil cases.
The district courts also serve as the juvenile courts in the state and have exclusive and original jurisdiction over any minor who is alleged to be unruly, delinquent, or deprived. This jurisdiction includes cases in which a female minor is seeking judicial authorization to obtain an abortion without parental consent. The responsibility for supervising and counseling juveniles who have been brought into court lies with the judicial branch of government in North Dakota.
The district courts are also the appellate courts of first instance for appeals from the decisions of many administrative agencies. Acting in this appellate capacity, district courts do not conduct a retrial of the case. Their decisions are based on a review of the record of the administrative proceeding conducted by the administrative agency.
Under the authority granted to the Supreme Court in Article VI, Section 3 of the Constitution of North Dakota, the court has organized the district courts into eight judicial districts operating within four administrative units. In each district, there is a presiding judge who oversees the courts’ judicial services in the district’s geographical area. The duties of the presiding judge, as established by the Supreme Court, include convening regular meetings of the judges within the judicial district to discuss issues of common concern, assigning cases among the judges of the district, and assigning judges within the judicial district in cases of demand for change of judge. The administrative unit structure consolidates the managerial and administrative functions of the courts within the districts under one trial court administrator for every two districts. The trial court administrator serves as a liaison with governmental and other agencies and is responsible for personnel, fiscal, facilities, contracts, and records management for the unit.
There are 52 district judges in the state. Ten judges in four chamber city locations serve the South Central Judicial District. Six judges in the Northwest Judicial District serving in two chamber city locations. Five judges serve the North Central Judicial district in one chamber city location. Nine judges serve the East Central Judicial District in two chamber city locations. Five judges serve the Northeast Central Judicial District in one chamber city location. Six judges serve the Northeast Judicial District in five chamber city locations. Seven judges serve the Southeast Judicial District in five chamber city locations. Four judges serve the Southwest Judicial District in one chamber city location. All district court judges are required by the state constitution to be licensed North Dakota attorneys, citizens of the United States, and residents of North Dakota.
The office of district court judge is an elected position which is filled every six years in a nonpartisan election held in the district in which the judge will serve. If a vacancy in the office of district judge occurs, the Supreme Court must determine whether the vacancy should be filled or whether the vacant office should be abolished or transferred. If the vacancy is to be filled, the governor may either fill the vacancy by appointing a candidate from a list of nominees submitted by the Judicial Nominating Committee or by calling a special election to fill the vacancy. If the vacancy is filled by the nomination process, the appointed judge serves for a minimum of two years and then until the next general election, at which time the office is filled by election for the remainder of the term.
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District Court Case Search and Payment Processing
District Court Case Search
This website provides access to North Dakota District Court Case information for Criminal, Traffic, and Civil case types. The search results also include municipal court cases from certain areas. The search results do not include restricted case information. For a complete description of the data and the counties that are searchable click here.
For help using this website please visit the help guide or look at the Frequently Asked Questions Page.
Notice: The information contained on this website reflects factual information associated with North Dakota District court cases as well as some North Dakota municipal court cases. The site shows the case information as each case is heard, whether it is still open or closed and what its final disposition was when closed. While many court cases originate as felonies or some other case type, they may be changed to other case types as they are heard. A felony may end up becoming a misdemeanor, infraction or even being dismissed. Always click on the case hyperlink and consult the Disposition section found in each case to determine the final outcome of the case.
Need help making a payment? Please follow the instructionsfound here.
Clerk of Court
District courts are the key elements in the judicial system established in 1995. With the elimination of county courts, district courts became responsible for the workload and positions of the county courts. The Clerks of Court Association was formed in 1952 as the N.D. County Judges Association. Later, a separate organization was formed for clerks of district, county, municipal and Supreme courts.
The clerk of district court could well be called "Custodian of Court Files" because much of the clerk's time is spent working with legal records. It is an important job because maintaining accurate, updated and accessible records helps bring efficient delivery of judicial services.
Clerks of district court must summon jurors, maintain exhibits and attend court when it is in session. But their primary responsibility is administration of court records.
These records fall into several categories:
- Civil Actions area proceedings concerning the rights of private individuals. They include divorces, foreclosures, and personal injury/property damage cases.
- Restricted Action files aren't open to the public. They include formal juvenile proceedings, adoptions and aternity suits.
- Criminal Actions, or felonies, are handled in district court. These serious crimes include murder, gross sexual imposition and burglary.
- Child Support: Because of the number of divorces and a growing number of state and federal laws, the number of child support cases has expanded faster than other court responsibilities.
- Passports: Clerk of district court are designated agents for U.S.A. passports.
- Vital Records: Birth and death certificates are registered and burial permits issued.
In counties where the population is less than 6,000, one person acts as a clerk of district court and county recorder.
The 1989 Legislature opened the way for district clerks of court to become state employees. The county commission must initiate the transfer, which needs the approval of the state Supreme Court. Funding for the move must be appropriated by the Legislature.
District courts are part of the court system that includes the state supreme courts and municipal courts.
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Contents updated January 2021
Updated January 27, 2021
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