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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.


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.

Requesting Materials from the Collection

To request assistance in determining if we have records and briefs (court documents) for a particular case, please contact a Reference Librarian with information about the case, including the case name, the court name, the case docket number, the year, and the case citation, if available. The Librarian can consult an online internal index for staff-only use, as well as print indexes held at the Reference Desk, for most of our collections. Reference Librarians can be contacted in person, via our phone (202-707-5079) or through the Ask a Librarian online service. If we determine that we do have documents for your particular case, researchers can visit us in person to make copies of the materials or utilize the Library's Duplication Services fee-based copy service.

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.