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Retention and Disposition of Court Records

The Unified Court System has developed separate retention and disposition schedules for court records as well as guidelines for destroying court records. Courts are responsible for managing their records, including permanent or historically significant records, with the following exceptions:  

  • The Archives acquires pre-1848 records of trial and appellate courts and post-1847 records of certain appellate courts, including the State Court of Appeals.  
  • Each county clerk has custody of the records of the supreme or county court in his or her respective county.  
  • Records and dockets of town and village courts are “the property of the village or town of the residence of such justice” (per Uniform Justice Court Law § 2019-a). Upon retirement, all village or town justices must file the records in their custody in the office of the clerk of their respective village or town courts. In the case of the abolishment of a village court, the active records must be deposited with the town court to see through to the disposition of the case, but disposed cases remain with the village for the duration of their retention periods.