Skip to Main Content
Chat With Us

Business Law


Federal & State Cases

Case - Definition

There are several definitions for "case". It is often considered a synonym of "lawsuit", but for legal research "case" usually means the written decision/opinion of a judge or group of judges. These written decisions serve as authority or 'precedent', which is often binding and always important to subsequent decisions. The courts whose decisions are published are almost always appellate courts, not trial courts.

Many lawsuits will not have a written decision available either in print or on the web; the record will only be available at the courthouse in which the legal proceedings were held. For more information on how the law works see Legal Research: How to Find and Understand the Law (O"Neill Stacks KF 240 .E35 2015).

Finding Cases on a Topic

Locating a case when you have the party names or the citation

Finding law review articles on a case

To find law review articles on a particular case, use the resources on the law review page on this guide.  Use the party names and one or two words about the legal issue.