CLERKS OF THE COURT

Custodian of Court Files
Another name for clerk of court might be Custodian of Court Files because much of the clerks time is spent working with the legal records.  It is an important job because maintaining accurate, updated, and accessible records helps bring efficient delivery of judicial services.

District Court
Since the unification of the court system, all court functions at the county level happen in District Court. All criminal cases, civil, and small claims are handled in District Court.  The Clerk of Court files wills,issues marriage licenses, performs marriages, maintains mental health guardianship and probate records.  Also files military discharge certificates, maintains the judgement docket and takes applications for passports.  The clerk also processes traffic tickets and collects fines, fees and restitution.

Clerks of district court must summon jurors, maintain exhibits, and attend court when it is in session, but their biggest job is administration of court records.  These records fall into several categories:
 

Elected of Appointed
Each county elects a clerk of district court, while county court clerks are appointed by the judge in counties with more than 25,000 residents.  When the population is under 25, 000, the district clerk is also the county clerk of court.  When the population is less than 6,000, one person acts as clerk of district court, county clerk of court, and register of deeds.

In 1989 the legislature opened the way for district clerks of court to become state employees.  The county commission must initiate the transfer, which needs the approval of the state supreme court.  Funding must be appropriated by the legislature.

District courts are part of a court system that also includes the state supreme court and municipal courts.  The Clerks of Court Association began in 1952 as the ND County Judges Association.  Later a separate organization was formed for clerks of district and municipal courts and the Supreme Court.  As elected county officials, clerks of district court are also members of the ND Association of Counties.

Have questions?  Contact Jerene A. Bender at 701-756-6398 or email Jerene