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Legal Research: A Guide to Case Law

Databases and Online Resources

Court decisions often may be accessed via subscription databases and the Internet.

On-site at the Library of Congress, patrons may access court decisions through Nexis Uni (formerly LexisNexis Library Express). Additionally, the Law Library Reading Room provides public access on-site to Westlaw Patron Access (which includes court decisions indexed using West's Key Number System) and Bloomberg Law Patron Access.

The Law Library of Congress has also created freely-available legal research guides that can help researchers locate online case law sources.

Subscription Databases for Case Law Research

The subscription resources marked with a padlock  are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress.  If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

Government Websites for Case Law Research

Government websites are increasingly offering free access to court decisions online. The Library of Congress has digitized volumes of the United States Reports and makes them available to the public as part of its digital collections. The U.S. Government Publishing Office's govinfo website provides access to select federal court decisions from 2004 to the present. Additionally, many individual federal and state appellate courts' websites provide access to recent decisions issued by that court. To find links to individual federal and state court websites, use the Law Library of Congress's Guide to Law Online (GTLO).

Law Library of Congress Guides and Resources

Finally, there are several freely-available options for finding case law online through Law Library of Congress research guides.