I ask NOT about court opinions. The UKSC doesn't publish them, but what of lower courts?

Can I get a copy of a party's 'skeleton argument' or case?

The UKSC does not publish parties' cases. [...].


A submission is simply the name for that part of one side's case which is submitted to the court but is not evidence, whether that is 'I suggest there is no case to answer' or a day-long oration. As such, they are not normally written documents, and so are only generally available by obtaining a transcript of the whole day's proceedings . Even if this is possible (not all cases are automatically recorded) there is certainly a charge for it.

There are exceptions, of course: the Supreme Court, less bound by tradition since it was created only recently, prefers to read advocates' speeches rather than listen to them. And advocates do in practice often write out their speeches, so a particular submission might be obtainable by suitable flattery of the advocate (or more likely his clerk/secretary). But in general, the answer is "you can't".

  • +1. Thanks for the elucidation. I edited my OP: does it change anything? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal May 10 '17 at 23:28
  • Fascinating. While U.S. criminal proceedings still have a high proportion of oral presentations to written documents, in civil proceedings in the U.S., written documents are king and oral presentations are pretty much considered only the icing on the cake. – ohwilleke May 11 '17 at 2:40
  • @Canada-Area51Proposal: The edited question is probably too wide to be answerable. The Civil Procedure Rules set out which documents are available to the public (the deleted answer now seems more pertinent than mine), and there are similar rules for criminal cases; but available usually means 'can be inspected if you go to the court' rather than 'put on the Internet'. – Tim Lymington May 11 '17 at 8:33

Generally, you can't. These are private documents, only the judgement is public.

  • 1
    Anything said in open court (which includes most submissions) cannot be private. – Tim Lymington May 12 '17 at 16:48

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