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LRAW Research Fall 2022

Other States' Case Law

Map of the states that comprise the seven West regional reporters.

 

Law school students and faculty have online access to case law for all states via subscription to Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law. For access to all states' case law in print, the law school library also maintains current versions of all seven West regional reporters: Pacific, North Western, South Western, North Eastern, South Eastern, and Atlantic. 

South Carolina libraries, colleges, and universities may subscribe to limited academic and public versions of Westlaw and Lexis. The University of South Carolina libraries provide access to case law for all states through a subscription to Nexis Uni (formerly known as LexisNexis Academic).

Several internet sites offer free access to case law.  States typically provide access to several years of appellate court opinions on their judicial system websites. The National Center for State Courts maintains a State Court Web sites page. Other free sites that provide access to all state court opinions include Cornell University's Legal Information Institute's Listing by Jurisdiction; FindLaw’s Cases and Codes; and Google Scholar.

Free websites may allow you to choose a single state, search multiple states or search all state case law at once. Free websites, however, do not include headnotes, annotations, citators, or other enhancements to cases available through paid subscription databases.

See examples of other court systems below:

Georgia Case Law

The Georgia judicial system consists of:

  1. five trial courts of limited jurisdiction (Municipal, Magistrate, Probate, Juvenile, and State Courts),
  2. the Superior Court (a trial court of general jurisdiction),
  3. the Court of Appeals, and
  4. the Supreme Court.   

The diagram below details the court system in the state of Georgia:

 Diagram showing the parts of the Georgia court system.

Cases in the trial courts, both those of limited jurisdiction as well as the Superior Court, are generally not published. Appellate court opinions from the Georgia Court of Appeals are published chronologically in the Georgia Appeals Reports. Opinions from the Supreme Court are published in the Georgia Reports. Both Georgia Court of Appeals and Supreme Court opinions are published in the South Eastern Reporter and South Eastern Reporter, 2d Series, along with cases from South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Several years of Georgia appellate court opinions can also be obtained from the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court websites.

North Carolina Case Law

The North Carolina judicial system consists of:

  1. a District Court Division, including district and magistrate courts of limited trial jurisdiction;
  2. a Superior Court Division, including superior courts of general trial jurisdiction; and 
  3. an Appellate Division, including the Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court.

The following chart shows the organization of the North Carolina court system:

Chart showing the North Carolina court system and the paths cases follow on appeal.

Cases in the District and Superior Court divisions are generally not published. Appellate court opinions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals are published chronologically in the North Carolina Court of Appeals Reports. Opinions from the Supreme Court are published in the North Carolina Reports. Both North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court opinions are published in West's South Eastern Reporter and South Eastern Reporter, 2d Series, along with cases from South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia. Several years of North Carolina appellate opinions can also be obtained from the North Carolina Court System website.

Virginia Case Law

The Virginia judicial system consists of:

  1. General District Courts with limited jurisdiction that try civil cases involving amounts in controversy up to $25,000 and traffic infractions and misdemeanor criminal offenses;
  2. Circuit Courts of general jurisdiction with authority to try all types of civil and criminal cases;
  3. a Court of Appeals that reviews decisions of the Circuit Courts in domestic relations matters, traffic infractions, and criminal cases (except death penalty cases), appeals from administrative agencies, and decisions of the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission; and
  4. the Virginia Supreme Court, a court of last resort, which reviews decisions of the Circuit Courts and the Court of Appeals when such appeals have been allowed, decisions of the State Corporations Commission, and certain disciplinary actions of the Virginia State Bar regarding attorneys.

The following chart shows the organization of the Virginia court system:

Diagram showing the organization of the Virginia court system including the state bar and administrative offices.

Appellate court opinions from the Virginia Court of Appeals are published in the Virginia Court of Appeals Reports in chronological order. Virginia Supreme Court opinions are published in the Virginia Reports. Both Virginia Court of Appeals and Virginia Supreme Court opinions are published in the South Eastern Reporter and South Eastern Reporter, 2d Series, along with cases from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and West Virginia. Several years of Virginia appellate court opinions can also be obtained from the Virginia Judicial System website.