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Dockets and Court Filings: Overview

This guide is designed to help users navigate dockets to locate filings in ongoing or past cases in federal and state courts.

What is a docket?

Put simply, a docket is a chronological record of all actions taken in a court case. From the initial complaints to the final judge's order, any item filed with the court is recorded and numbered on a docket sheet. 

A docket sheet, the list of actions itself, is often freely available, but the individual documents on that list are not as widely accessible. To find those documents (records, briefs, motions, orders, etc.), researchers need to identify a database or clerk's office where those documents are available.

As a general rule, federal records are more readily available online than state records, and appellate records are more readily available online than trial records.

This guide will help Michigan Law researchers locate federal and state court docket filings.

Need Help?

This guide was created and updated by Michigan Law Reference Librarians.

  Email us at askalawlibrarian@umich.edu. Emails are answered by Librarians between 8AM and 6PM, Monday-Friday

  Consult with us. Members of the Michigan Law Community may schedule an appointment to meet with a Reference Librarian during business hours.