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Locating Federal & Washington Case Law Materials

This guide highlights free resources on the web for locating federal and Washington state court opinions and briefs.

Lower Federal Courts


U.S. Court of Appeals

"The 94 U.S. judicial districts are organized into 12 regional circuits, each of which has a United States Court of Appeals. A court of appeals hears appeals from the district courts located within its circuit, as well as appeals from decisions of federal administrative agencies." -- from "About the Court of Appeals", United States Courts website (see below).

U.S. District Courts

"The United States district courts are the trial courts of the federal court system. Within limits set by Congress and the Constitution, the district courts have jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal cases, including both civil and criminal matters." -- from "About the U.S. District Courts", United States Courts website (see below).

U.S. Bankruptcy Court

"Each of the 94 federal judicial districts handles bankruptcy matters, and in almost all districts, bankruptcy cases are filed in the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy cases cannot be filed in state court.

Bankruptcy laws also protect troubled businesses and provide for orderly distributions to business creditors through reorganization or liquidation. These procedures are covered under Title 11 of the United States Code (the Bankruptcy Code). The vast majority of cases are filed under the three main chapters of the Bankruptcy Code, which are Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13." -- from "About Bankruptcy Courts", United States Courts website (see below).

U.S. Courts of Special Jurisdiction

Court Locator

To visit a respective court's homepage, use the Court Locator tool link below:

Other U.S. Federal Courts Internet Sources

Chastek Library, Gonzaga University School of Law | 721 N. Cincinnati St. Spokane, WA 99220-3528 | 509.313.3758