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Accessing Court Records, Dockets, and Transcripts

What is a Docket?

A docket is a chronological list of every item and document filed in a particular court proceeding.  It will contain information about each item and often link to the item itself.  A case will have a docket for each court it appears before.  For example, a case that is filed in Ontario Family Court, appealed to the Court of Ontario, and then appealed again to the Supreme Court of Canada would have an Ontario Court of Justice docket, a Court of Ontario docket, and Supreme Court of Canada docket, each listing the documents filed in that court. 

Not all docket information is available to those with no direct involvement with the case.  Some items are sealed or destroyed, or simply not available online.

NOTE: Confusingly, the word DOCKET refers to both the schedule of cases appearing in front of a judge on a particular day (i.e. "What's on the docket for today?") and the chronological listing of items filed in a case.  In this guide, we are discussing the latter.

Example Docket

What's in a Docket?

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the types of things you can find listed in a court docket:

  • complaints
  • answers 
  • motions 
  • petitions
  • briefs
  • pleadings
  • declarations
  • exhibits
  • orders
  • judgments
  • court notations such as payment of fees or continuances of dates. 

Each of these items will have its own entry number on a docket.

Docket Numbers

Docket numbers (or Court File Numbers) are assigned to each case by the courts. It's generally not necessary to understand how docket numbers are assigned to use them to retrieve cases, but knowing how docket numbers are constructed can be helpful for correcting mistyped docket numbers and determining where and when a case was filed, especially dockets created before the internet was widely used for them.

Warning: There may be more than one docket number per action, and more than one judgment per docket number - this happens when cases are merged, etc.