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Free and Low Cost Legal Research  

Legal research can be effective and low cost (or free). There are options available beyond Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law. This guide helps identify several alternatives
Last Updated: Feb 18, 2015 URL: http://guides.law.ufl.edu/free_research Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Federal Cases

U.S. Supreme Court Cases

Court opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court can be found in several bound volumes at the UF Lawton Chiles Legal Information Center.  Online, U.S. Supreme Court cases and discussion of those cases may be found at several websites for free, including the official website for the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Supreme Court

  • The official website for the U.S. Supreme Court, this site contains information on dockets, briefs, court rules, and other public information in addition to Court opinions.

Oyez

  • The Oyez Project at Chicago-Kent provides an archive of U.S. Supreme Court events.  Oyez contains audio recordings of cases dating back to October 1955.  Oyez also has biographical information on Supreme Court Justices and a virtual tour of the Court.

Google Scholar

  • U.S. Supreme Court cases back to 1791 can be found here.

U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals

Court opinions from the 12 Circuit Courts of Appeals are found at the various court websites.  A listing of those websites can be found on the UF Law LibGuide http://guides.law.ufl.edu/Federal_Law as well as a map that shows where each circuit is located.

 

PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records)

PACER

PACER

PACER is the acronym for the Public Access to Court Electronic Records.  It is a government website that provides a fairly comprehensive bank of information on federal cases (including bankruptcy matters).  PACER includes the docket information in the case, as well as the documents that have been filed with the court (e.g. briefs, motions, etc.).  PACER can be a little difficult to use, but there are tutorials on the website.  To use PACER, one must create an account.  Using PACER is free up to certain levels - after that level is reached, there is a charge that applies (check the website for more information).

Florida Cases

Florida Supreme Court Cases

Florida Supreme Court

  • This is the official website for the Florida Supreme Court - it has Florida Supreme Court opinions back to 1999.

Florida Supreme Court Briefs and Opinions (Florida State University)

  • The Florida Supreme Court Records and Briefs Project is a joint project from all of the academic law libraries in Florida.  The goal is to gather all of the Supreme Court records and briefs back to 1846 - it is an ongoing project.

Florida District Courts of Appeal Cases

Florida District Courts of Appeal

  • Florida has 5 District Courts of Appeal.  The districts are based on geographical location and are shown on the map below.  The link above will guide you to each District where you will find links for recent opinions and guidelines on accessing the courts.

District Court of Appeals Distribution Chart

Florida Circuit Courts Cases

Florida Circuit Courts

  • There are 20 Circuit Courts in Florida.  These courts rule on civil matters involving an amount in controversy over $15,000, felony criminal matters, probate disputes, juvenile cases, guardianships and more.  The link shown above provides links to the individual Circuit Courts.  Generally, one must contact the clerk of the individual courthouses to have access to opinions: they are not widely available online (and are of limited precedential value).
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The information and links provided on guides.law.ufl.edu are NOT intended to provide legal advice and should NOT be treated as such. The Legal Information Center gives no assurance or guarantee to the accuracy of the information provided on this website, including but not limited to, typographical errors, inaccurate descriptions of external websites, or broken or changed links.
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