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How do Idaho Courts work?

The Supreme Court serves as the highest legal authority in the state of Idaho, and resides over the decisions made in the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court can review, and weigh in on important questions, conflicts and precedents. In turn, the Court of Appeals can do the same with lower courts, reviewing decisions made after one party contests. These lower courts come in the form of one of 44 superior or trial courts across the 44 counties.

Civil Cases and Small Claims

There are a number of differences between civil cases and the cases heard in small claims court, both in the value of petition and type of case. For instance, civil court deals with petitioners seeking $200,000 and over, of which there are 175,000 cases per year. Civil court can also deal with non-monetary cases, such as dispute over property, name changes, and restraining orders. On the other hand, the cases heard in small claims court deal with petitioners who are seeking $4,000 or under. There are 150,000 of these cases per year, and it is not represented by counsel. Cases can include disputes over warranties, deposits, repairs, loans, and more. The court can even order the defendant into a certain action, such as paying back a fee.

Appeals and court limits

The appeals process and court limits also differ from civil court to small claims court. Only the defendant can appeal in small claims cases, where as either party can appeal in civil court. Pretrial discovery is also only allowed in civil court, not in small claims. People in civil court may also have a lawyer represent them and file paperwork on their behalf, while neither of these things are allowed in small claims. Small claims cost between $30 and $100 to file, and each party is given 30-70 days to complete their case. In civil court, it costs between $180 and $320 per claim, and each party is given up to 120 days. In small claims court, people do not have to be a US citizen to file of defend, and if a person’s English is not good enough, they can hire an interpreter.

Why are court records public?

In 1990, the Idaho Public Records Act was passed, with the most recent amendment following in 2007. This act was put in place to ensure that the public could access public records at will. Any state or local government record can be accessed and copied by Idaho residents. The aim was to promote transparency and safeguard government accountability.

Access files at:


451 W. State St,
Boise, ID 83702

P.O. Box 83720,
Boise, ID 83720

Phone: (208) 334-2210


Idaho Court Structure
Idaho State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (208) 231-7314

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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.


Idaho’s Twin Falls County Courthouse was first constructed in 1910.

  • Idaho has 4 different types of courts. They are the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the District Court, and the Magistrates Court.
  • The Idaho Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the state, and was established in 1863 as a territorial court, then again in 1890 as a state court.
  • The Idaho Supreme Court has 5 judicial positions that serve 6 year terms. The chief justice serves for 4 years.
  • The Idaho Court of Appeals was created by the Idaho Legislature in 1982. Cases in this court are assigned by the Idaho Supreme Court.