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Public Records: Court Records

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Find Docket Information

You may use the Court Reference directory to find any court documents that may be available online. You can also Google search for the state name and case search.

Find Case Law

Tips for Finding Court Records

Court System

  • There is a federal court system that consists of the Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals, and Federal District Courts, and there are also state courts that include the state Supreme Court and local courts that may be city, county, or district courts.
  • Federal courts hear cases on the constitutionality of law, trade, disputes between two states, maritime law, and bankruptcy. State courts hear cases on real estate, business contracts, inheritance, most crime, and personal injury.
  • Immigration court cases are handled separately by the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Records for this court must be requested by FOIA request.

Types of Information Available

  • For most cases, all you are going to find is a docket, which is a record of the proceedings of a court case. Dockets vary widely in the type of information recorded. Some jurisdictions have free online docket systems while others require subscription to a database or even visiting the court in-person. The kinds of documents included in the docket may be motions, testimony, jury instructions, rulings, and expert witnesses.
  • Some cases are published as case law, typically when there is a new interpretation or first impression of a law. All Supreme Court cases are published as case law. Case law is a write up of the case proceedings, decisions made, testimonies, etc.