What is Court Research? Everything You Need to Know

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If you’ve ever wondered what court research entails, this article can help you get started. It will discuss case citations, headnotes, online databases, and other legal jargon. So whether you’re looking for a resume or a full criminal background check, this guide covers everything. Once you’ve mastered these basic skills, you’ll be well to becoming a confident researcher.

Case citations

Court research is the process of visiting the courtroom and reviewing available records. Mortgages, marriage records, tax liens, court decisions, divorces, and other records could be among the things you search for. Courthouse research or on-site court research San Diego, CA, entails nothing less than physically visiting the courthouse to look up the necessary documents. There are several ways to cite cases in your legal writing. A case citation, also known as a citation in legal writing, is required when you use a judgment as a source. Generally, you will need to cite at least two sources in your legal writing. However, you can cite more than two sources as long as you consider your audience. Whenever you are using court cases as your sources, select a format that is easy to read for your audience.

To find unreported local cases, you can search Vancouver Courthouse Library. They hold over 33,000 decisions and are organized under the Unreported Decisions Index. You can also search for unreported decisions that have progressed from lower courts to higher courts. It is best to use this method if you want to research the legal issues behind an alleged injustice. The Library has a section on writing legal research and citing case citations.


Headnotes are not part of the text of a judicial opinion but are used by reporters to aid in their reporting. Headnotes provide a summary of the idea, allowing reporters to examine the entire text later. Headnotes can also be a convenient way to reference a case instantly. Mary has been contributing to MyLawQuestions for many years. She has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and enjoys cooking and exploring the great outdoors.

Using headnotes in court research can help you locate similar cases that deal with the same legal issue. In addition to citing the source, headnotes can also provide keywords or “catch lines” that help you locate a case. Headnotes are generally printed as paragraphs, but sometimes the dashes separate different phrases. Therefore, using headnotes correctly is critical to completing your legal research.

Online databases

While library materials are widely available and accessible, they don’t always have a complete record of court cases and other legal information. The good news is that a few databases are specifically designed for this type of research. For example, you can search PACER, a website with almost every court document available. However, you may have difficulty finding a specific legal journal volume before 1923. The best way to locate pre-1923 books in a journal is to use a legal research database.

LLMC-Digital, for example, lets you search case reports by standard citations and full-text keywords, or you can browse by volume and find a case. However, the search interface is slow and does not include advanced sorting options. Moreover, large multi-volume sets are presented without a detailed table of contents or chronological coverage of individual volumes. These limitations are frustrating for anyone who has to sift through thousands of pages of legal material for a case.

Legal jargon

Knowing the correct terminology for different types of legal documents can help you navigate the court system. However, it can be confusing to figure out which terms mean or how to find the definitions in various laws. In addition to a dictionary, specialized glossaries help you make sense of the legal language. These documents usually list definitions for legal terms that are often used in court cases. However, you can also find statutory definitions in statutes and rules, usually found at the end of the document.

Verifying that you are using a “good” law

Before using a particular case, make sure you use the “good” law. An invalid law won’t help you win a case, but you can use it to support your arguments. You can also check whether a statute is still in effect. Many of these databases have videos that can help you become familiar with their features. You can also use the citation of a case to support your argument.

Another way to check if a case is considered a “good” law is to check the citator. This feature shows if the case was cited in subsequent cases. The recent cases reflect current laws and are less likely to become outdated. That said, older cases that fit the facts and the law can still be useful. KeyCite can help you avoid this problem by showing you whether a case is a good law or not.


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