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Guide to Free Online Legal Resources: Cases

This guide directs legal researchers to the best websites for locating legal information for free on the Web. It includes finding tools and legal search engines as well as primary sources from our three branches of government, both state and federal.

Introduction to Cases

A case is a dispute between two or more parties that is resolved by a court. The parties can be individual people, the government, or corporations. Cases can be either civil or criminal and are brought in both state and federal courts. Cases begin at the trial court level (also called the district court). If one of the parties disagrees with the decision, the party can appeal its case. Appellate courts, and sometimes trial courts, issue written decisions, which are often available online.