Clerk of Court / County Recorder


Clerk of Court

The 1989 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 for the move must be appropriated by the Legislature.

District Courts are part of the court system that includes the State Supreme Court and Municipal Courts.

District Courts are the key elements in the judicial system established in 1995. With the elimination of County Courts, District Courts became responsible for the workload and positions of the County Courts.

The Clerk of District Court could well be called "Custodian of Court Files" because much of the Clerk's time is spent working with legal records. It is an important job because maintaining accurate, updated and accessible records helps bring efficient delivery of judicial services. 

Clerks of the District Court must summon jurors, maintain exhibits and attend court when it is in session, but their primary responsibility is the administration of court records.

These records fall into several categories:

• Civil action proceedings concern the rights of private individuals. They include divorces, foreclosures, and personal injury/property damage cases.
• Restricted action files aren't open to the public. They include formal juvenile proceedings, adoptions and paternity suits.
• Criminal actions, or felonies, are handled in district court. These serious crimes include murder, gross sexual imposition, and burglary.
• Child support: Because of the number of divorces and a growing number of state and federal laws, the number of child support cases has expanded faster than other court responsibilities.
• Passports: Applications can be obtained from the U.S. Department of State or our office.
• Vital records: Contact the Division of Vital Records in Bismarck, N.D.


The County Recorder's Office is one of the offices formally organized by the Constitutional Convention of 1889. County Recorder Officers are elected to four-year terms that begin in January immediately following the General Election in November. In some Counties, this position is appointed. However, elections remain the predominant method for citizens to select a Recorder. Some Counties have combined the Recorder position with the Clerk of Court.

The information filed and recorded in the Recorder's Office is used by the Auditor, Treasurer, Commissioners, and other County officials, along with the general public and business entities. The real estate record is the basis for the Auditor's assessment rolls and the tax collection process of the Treasurer. Most of these records are open to the public and have been digitized to be viewed on computer in the office or on the North Dakota Recorder's Information Network (NDRIN) website.

The County Recorder maintains any and all types of documents which affect title to real property in the Land Records Office. The Recorder's Office works with a wide varied customer base who use the filed and recorded information to document legal instruments, create and/or extend abstracts, conduct land appraisals, locate property lines, draw plats, search ancestry, historical data, heirship, mineral leases, courtroom testimony, and many other interests.

Duties of the Recorder

  • Recording any and all types of documents which affect title to real property.
  • Recording / filing Powers-of-Attorney.
  • Filing corner monument records.
  • Filing burial permits.
  • Keep a record of each patent, deed, mortgage, bill of sale, security agreement, judgement, decree, lien, certificate of sale, and any other instrument required to be filed or recorded in proper books provided for such recording, upon receipt of the filing or recording fees.
  • When the instrument is recorded or filed, endorse on the instrument the document number, date, and the hour and minute when it was recorded or filed.
  • Record military discharge records as requested per NDCC §37-01-34.