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U.S. Federal Appellate Courts: Records and Briefs

A Law Library of Congress research guide regarding how to find the records and briefs—written statements filed by parties in a case and the written report of proceedings in a case—for all U.S. federal circuit courts of appeals.

Introduction

The Law Library of Congress maintains print and microform collections of records and briefs for cases heard in the U.S. Courts of Appeals.

The timeliness of the U.S. Courts of Appeals records and briefs received by the Law Library of Congress varies by Circuit Court. Receipt may occur several years after publication. The Law Library converts all items delivered into microfiche format, and adds them to the microfiche collection.

The completeness of the U.S. Courts of Appeals records and briefs received by the Law Library of Congress also varies by Circuit Court. As of October 2019, these collections are closed, with no new items being added.

Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. Mural in the James R. Browning U.S. Court of Appeals Building, San Francisco, California. 2009. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

*NOTE: Original paper copies and older microfilms are preserved in off-site storage. Reference librarians can consult indexes to confirm the availability of materials for particular cases (by docket number, party name, circuit, or year) for some, but not all, of the courts. More recent records and briefs are located in the Law Library, and can be retrieved for researchers.

Request materials in person at the Law Library Reading Room (LLRR), Room 242 in the Madison Building, Library of Congress. Requests for these items also can be made electronically through the Library of Congress Online Catalog. On the request form, for call number, list “Records & Briefs;” for author, identify the circuit (e.g., 2nd Circuit); and for title, provide the case docket number (e.g., 91-465).

Map of U.S. Federal Circuits

To determine which circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals system might be of particular interest to you, please visit the "U.S. Federal Courts Circuit Map," created by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, linked below.