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Exploring Case Law

Finding Case Law

Case law is predicated entirely on the laws that are interpreted through the process of stare decisis, or judicial review; its rule of law is thus based on judicial opinions and precedents that are derived from these cases that are contested before a higher court judiciary.

Finding case laws, as a rule, is far easier than it used to be.

While many databases are now computerized, the basic content and organizational systems upon which these databases are predicated are still based upon the rules established by their hard copy equivalents, and many legal libraries will still insist on owning hard copies of specific case records.

Case laws, when rendered, become part of the public record, but that public record still needs to be published. These publications take up numerous volumes per year, as one would expect, and come in many different formats, specified for law school, lawyer’s offices, court libraries, and so forth. Lawyer’s editions tend to be smaller editions than the ones given to legal libraries, with smaller typeface and lower page counts.

Even outside the realm of publishing, these cases are always on file at the court of record, so they can be acquired by going to the local courthouse and speaking to a clerk of the court. Usually the records will have to be examined under supervision and depending on the records office may not be photocopied.

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