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Circuit Riders: Legal Research Training for Non-Lawyers

Finding South Carolina Cases Online

Opinions from the South Carolina Court of Appeals and the South Carolina Supreme Court are available from 1997 to the present on the South Carolina Judicial Department website at www.sccourts.org.

To locate these opinions, click on the Opinion Search link using the "Legal Community" tab, or the "Opinions/Orders" link on the banner at the top of the home page.

There are five options for searching South Carolina appellate court opinions on the South Carolina Judicial Department website: by case number, by court, by the appellate court judge who wrote the opinion, by the judge who decided the case at trial, and by a full text search of the opinion.

Option number one allows you to search opinions by the case numbers assigned by the courts. Most researchers do not know case numbers when researching case law.

Option number two allows you to search opinions from the South Carolina Supreme Court or Court of Appeals or both within a given date range.

Option number three allows you to search by the name of the appellate court judge who wrote the opinion.

Option number four allows you to retrieve opinions by the name of the Circuit Court, Family Court, or Master in Equity Court judge who decided the case at trial.

Option number five is the option most commonly used by researchers. It allows you to search the text of opinions by keyword for particular legal issues involved.

For example, if you wanted to find South Carolina appellate court opinions dealing with cows, you could enter that term in the search box to retrieve cases where it appears in the text. The option number five text search also allows you to search for a case by party name.

Another free resource for finding cases available through the South Carolina Judicial Department's website and for finding older South Carolina appellate court opinions is Google Scholar. Our researchers have located South Carolina opinions on Google Scholar as far back as 1940.