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How do Nevada Courts work?

In the state of Nevada, the Supreme Court acts as the highest legal authority, with the ability to review decisions made at the Court of Appeals level. This allows the Supreme Court to weigh in when needed on important legal conflicts, issues, and precedents. The Court of Appeals then carries out a similar function over the lower courts, reviewing a decision made when one party contests it. These lower courts are made up of the 16 superior and trial courts found in the 16 counties across the state. Other tiers of court include Municipal Courts, Justice Courts, and District Courts.

Civil Cases and Small Claims

There are a number of differences between the cases dealt with by civil court and those dealt with by small claims court. Small claims court deals with cases in which the petitioner is seeking $5,000 or under, and is no represented by counsel. There are nearly 100,000 small claims cases each and every year across Nevada. Cases may include disputes over loans, deposits, warranties, repairs, and much more, as long as the total value does not exceed $5,000. On the other hand, civil court deals with cases in which the petitioner is looking for a sum of over $200,000. There are close to 175,000 of these cases each year across the state. Civil court also deals with some non-monetary cases, including restraining orders, name changes, and property disputes.

Appeals and court limits

There are also key differences in the appeals processes and court limits surrounding small claims courts and civil courts in Nevada. Pretrial discovery is not allowed in small claims cases, but is allowed in civil court. A person may also hire a lawyer to represent them and file papers for them in civil court, but not in small claims court. Either party may appeal a decision made in civil court, but only the defendant may appeal in small claims court. Small claims court also has a case filing fee of between $30 and $100, after which each party is given 30-70 days to complete their case. On the other hand, civil court has a claim filing fee of between $180 and $320, and each party is then given up to 120 days to finish their respective cases.

Why are court records public?

The Nevada Open Records Act was introduced in 1906, with the most recent amendment coming in 2003. This Act ensures that residents of the state have the fundamental right to access all public records. Any record held by the local or state government can be accessed and copied by the public, unless prohibited by law. This promotes a sense of transparency and safeguards the accountability of the government.

To request files:


201 South Carson Street, Suite 201
Carson City

408 East Clark Avenue 
Las Vegas


Nevada Court Structure
Nevada State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (702) 819-0563

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Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.


Nevada’s Storey County Courthouse was completed in 1873.

  • The Nevada court system consists of 5 different courts. These are the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the District Courts, Municipal Courts, and the Justice Court.
  • The Supreme Court of Nevada is based in Carson City, and was founded in 1864.
  • The Nevada Supreme Court holds 7 judicial positions that serve 6 year terms each. There are no term limits for these positions.
  • The Nevada Court of Appeals was largely created to reduce the caseload of the Nevada Supreme Court. As a “deflective model,” the court will hear roughly one-third of the cases submitted to the Nevada Supreme Court.