Records, briefs, and other filings are among the most elusive legal documents to locate. The older these documents are, the more elusive they become. Many jurisdictions did not begin putting filings online until the mid-2000s, and few (if any) digitized older documents.
As a result, records, briefs, and other filings that are 15+ years old are most likely in print, microfilm, or other physical form, in a court clerk's office, an archive, or a library.
This page has information on finding historical court records for federal and state courts, and highlights some records held by the Michigan Law Library.
For federal records and briefs from before ~2008, check the website of the individual court.
Federal District Courts
Find the contact information of each court on the US Court website
Federal Appellate Courts
Each court's website is listed below.
The U.S. National Archives include more than 200 years of federal court records. These records are held in locations across the country. More information about finding these materials is on their website.
Historical state court records are often located in archive or library collections, or in the clerk's office. There is no single database or website with older state court records.
Here are suggested steps for locating state court records:
The Michigan Law Library holds the records and briefs of the United States Supreme Court and the Michigan Supreme Court. For help with microfilm requests, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call us at 734-764-9324
Text us at 734-329-5606
Email us at email@example.com. Emails are answered by Librarians during standard business hours, Monday-Friday. Patrons may expect a response within 1-2 business days for most emails.
Consult with us. Schedule an appointment to meet with a Reference Librarian.
Visit us at the Information Desk on Sub-1 for immediate in-person assistance. Open 8 am - midnight, Sunday-Thursday, and 8am - 10pm, Friday-Saturday*
The chat service is available to all of our patrons but is designed to meet the legal research needs of U-M students, staff, and faculty.
Chat is monitored from 1-7 pm Monday-Wednesday and 1-5 pm Thursday-Friday on days when class is in session.
*Excluding University holidays and semester breaks--check library hours for more information. The Building and library are available to law school community ONLY after 6 pm, and are closed to all but law school community on home football Saturdays.
If you have tried all of these options and not been able to locate a docket filing, fill out the form below for assistance from the Law Library. We cannot guarantee that we will find the document for you, but we will help you figure out next steps.