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Legal Research at Princeton

Court Documents

Court documents are the documents or court filings that are generated as a litigation is filed and proceeds.  Court documents are also known as "docket documents," because the list of these documents maintained by the court is called a litigation's "docket."   Traditionally, these documents were not published in a database, but rather available to the public at the courthouse where the litigation was filed.  Since the early 2000s, more and more court documents are available in court document databases, but availability varies widely based on jurisdiction.  Currently, federal court documents from the early 2000s forward are available. (U.S. Supreme Court documents are available back to 1832).  For state courts, some states make court documents readily available electronically, and some do not.  Sometimes availability varies county by county.

If you need court documents for your research, try the databases below.  If you are unable to find the case you need, please contact the law librarian for further assistance. Please note that court documents are distinct from court opinions, or case law, which are easily located in case law databases.