USSC Records & BriefsDockets, Petitions & Oral Arguments
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Records, Briefs & Court Filings   Tags: supreme_court  

Last Updated: Nov 6, 2014 URL: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/recordsandbriefs Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Terms

Docket:

A formal record in which a judge or court clerk briefly notes all the proceedings and filings in a court case

Docket Number:

A number that the court clerk assigns to a case on the court's docket.

Filing:

A particular document (such as a pleading) in the file of a court clerk or record custodian

Pleading:

A formal document in which a party to a legal proceeding (esp. a civil lawsuit) sets forth or responds to allegations, claims, denials, or defenses.

• In federal civil procedure, the main pleadings are the plaintiff's complaint and the defendant's answer

Brief:

A written statement setting out the legal contentions of a party in litigation, esp. on appeal; a document prepared by counsel as the basis for arguing a case, consisting of legal and factual arguments and the authorities in support of them

Record:

The official report of the proceedings in a case, including the filed papers, a verbatim transcript of the trial or hearing (if any), and tangible exhibits.

Note:

The records of a case may include pleadings, motions, trial transcripts, orders, instructions to juries, judgments and other materials. Contents of the  the published record for each case varies widely.

Transcript, 

 A handwritten, printed, or typed copy of testimony given orally; esp., the official record of proceedings in a trial or hearing, as taken down by a court reporter. — Also termed report of proceedingsreporter's record

 

Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary

 

Why Records & Briefs?

  • To gain insights into legal reasoning used by the parties in advocating their position
  • To identify the authorities used to support an argument
  • To find specific documents from a trial
  • To find transcripts of testimony and other sources for historical research

More on interesting uses for court documents:

Find Info Like a Pro: Investigating Court Docket Databases (American Bar Association)  

 

Before you start

Gather as much information about the case as you can:

  • Docket/Case number
  • Party names
  • Dates
  • Court

Some sources for case Information:

  • Published decision
  • Law reviews and treatises
  • Newspapers
  • Advocacy websites

With this information, use the resources in this guide to locate a source for your documents.

Need help?  Ask Us! , call (6174-495-4516) or visit the reference desk on the fourth floor of the HLS Library.

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