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North Dakota Legal Research: ND Courts & Opinions

North Dakota District Courts

North Dakota District Court

Each of North Dakota's 53 counties has a district court. These are courts of general jurisdiction, which means they hear all types of cases brought within the county. This is court where trials are held in ND.  List of ND District Courts.

The court system has a portal where court actions can be followed. The public portal provides access to a list of documents filed in the case, along with a schedule of hearings. The public portal displays the filings. You may have to go to the District Court in a particular county to access copies of the actual documents. Below are links to access the portal and guides to assist in your search. 

Public Portal landing page - public portal direct link - Public Search Help - login portal 

Performing a records inquiry

From the homepage, choose a location search by either regional district or individual county. From there, click on the map or the dropdown menu to select the appropriate court. The search option that will search all ND courts is the top choice on the dropdown menu.

After choosing the appropriate court, click to search by type of action, criminal or civil, judgment or calendar. 

North Dakota District Court Records Inquiry

Once in the database you can search by case, party or attorney. Limit your search to open or closed files.

To narrow your search, limit the choices by filing date or case type. Clicking on "Use Soundex" will expand your search to similarly spelled names, e.g., locating Smith and Smyth.

Court Records search

The result box has a variety of information.

result box 1

result box 2

North Dakota Supreme Court

The North Dakota Supreme Court is the highest court in the state. It is composed of five justices elected in a non-partisan election for ten-year terms. The Supreme Court is primarily an appellate court with the responsibility of hearing appeals from decisions of the district courts. The Court also has major responsibility for ensuring the efficient and effective operation of all non-federal courts in the state, maintaining high standards of judicial conduct, supervising the legal profession, and adopting procedural rules which allow for the orderly and efficient transaction of judicial business. More info.

The North Dakota Supreme Court homepage is an excellent resource for locating rules of procedure and published opinions. The links on the left and right sidebars provide direct access to much of the information on the site.

Legal Research Page

North Dakota Supreme Court online

Locating Court Opinions

The Supreme Court site contains more than 10,000 opinions -- the equivalent of 80,000 typewritten pages. Opinions on the site range from 1965 to the present. New opinions are posted the day they are filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court. Case searches on the website can be done by citation, alphabetically, by topic, justice or trial judge.

Opinion search page.


court opinion search page

Citation of court opinions

Current print reports of the court's opinions are published in the Northwestern Reporter 2nd (NW2d).
Citations of cases published in print reporters are generally referenced as follows:

1. Name of the case;
2. Reporter volume number;
3. Reporter abbreviation;
4. Page the opinion begins.

Example: Smith v. Jones, 123 NW2d 456
The case is located in the North Western Reporter 2nd, volume 123, starting on page 456.

The online version of court opinions are generally cited with the name of the case, followed by the year and number of case.
Example: Jones v. Smith, 2018 ND 62

Court Rules and Information

The ND Supreme Court website provides access to current Rules of Court for the state. Below are links to commonly used rules.

Rules of Civil Procedure
Rules of Criminal Procedure
Rules of Evidence
Rules of Court
Go to this page for a more complete list of rules

North Dakota Rules