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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.
Helps you to identify which courts handle different types of cases in each state, and then to provide information on how to get those records. Use this is you are looking for cases that would be handled at the state level.
PACER: Public Access to Court Electronic Records
A public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information online from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts.
Find Case Law
Supreme Court of the United States
This site contains information on Supreme Court cases including transcripts and press releases (among many other documents). It is *very* timely as transcripts of oral arguments are posted on this Web site on the same day an argument is heard by the Court. I would highly suggest an ADVANCE SEARCH, which will allow you to search by document type
Ravel Law Caselaw Collection
A comprehensive database of case law digitized through a project with Harvard University. You can search by the name of the case or by keyword. Create a free account to use this service.
Resources and links for both state and federal laws. This includes resources pertaining to constitutions, statutes, cases and more. Run a search for case summaries or select a jurisdiction to browse applicable laws.
Tips for Finding Court Records
- 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.