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I am a Cyber Security student just starting on a course the depends heavily on the use of court cases that used electronically stored information to determine the verdict of a case.

Are there a few database-like resources that would allow me to easily search for such cases?

  • I suspect that the U.K. is more centralized, probably with an England-Wales component, a Scottish component and a Northern Ireland component, but I don't know that for sure. Are you interested in the holdings of the case so you understand the law, or are you interested for some other purpose? – ohwilleke Oct 17 at 22:23
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    @ohwilleke see Dale M's answer. It's more split than that, and includes material from the Republic of Ireland and the EU, though the latter is also available from the EU itself at curia.europa.eu (the Court of Justice) and eur-lex.europa.eu (the EU law portal, maintained by the publication office, including the official journal, legislation, treaties, and much more in addition to case law). – phoog Oct 18 at 3:14
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U.S. answer only.

Are there a few database-like resources that would allow me to easily search for such cases?

It is balkanized. It also isn't entirely clear what information about the cases interests you.

Almost all federal court filings (but not administrative law decisions) are in a database called PACER.

Each state has its own system. Some are almost completely unified, and in others, there are many databases.

In Colorado, for example, the Colorado E-Filing system has all filings in state courts, but courts outside the state court system, mostly the Denver County Court and municipal courts, as well as some major private arbitration firms, are on their own and most subcontract the job to a division of LexisNexis, a private firm. In both cases, access to these filings is not free except to parties, and has lots of data with access restricted to parties and the court. Published appellate court decisions are also available at an Internet based source. None of these covers administrative law decisions in Colorado, however.

Administrative law decisions are usually kept by the agency and also often by a commercial firm that compiles them. Some of them do not give the public access to the decisions in the absence of a FOIA or open records act request.

Commercial firms like Westlaw and LexisNexis and several less well known firms (including a free one run by Cornell University), keep databases of published decisions of appellate courts plus a somewhat random assortment of unpublished decisions, with federal court trial court decisions getting much more heavy coverage than state court trial decisions and unpublished state appellate court decisions. But, these are only key court orders, not all filings in the case, and are not the true source documents.

There is also a non-profit consortium that maintains a database of court records from the 75 most populous counties in the United States, and there is a private firm that keeps selective track of jury verdicts to the fullest extent that it can obtain them.

Some credit reporting agencies (both consumer credit and business credit agencies) maintain databases of judgments and liens.

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For , there is British and Irish Legal Information Institute.

  • I never knew what "bailii" stood for, but I always had a vague sense that it was somehow related to bailiff. – phoog Oct 18 at 3:05
  • @phoog It is likely a backronym for 'Old Bailey', the Central Criminal Court in London. This takes its name from the street it's on, which follows the line of the medieval wall, and means 'palisade' (or sometimes the area enclosed). There may be an etymological connection between bailey - 'wall of sticks' and bailiff - 'man with a stick'. – richardb Oct 18 at 6:42
  • @richardb or perhaps its an acronym for “British and Irish Legal Information Institute” -BAILII? – Dale M Oct 18 at 7:13
  • @richardb thanks, that makes perfect sense, though looking up the etymology of bailey and bailiff (and bail), I see nothing to do with sticks and no sign of a relationship, though bailey isn't traced back farther than old French, and bailiff no farther than Latin, with speculation that it was borrowed from elsewhere, so it's not possible to say that they're not related, either. – phoog Oct 18 at 7:33
  • @DaleM I think richardb is suggesting that the name "British and Irish Legal Information Institute" was chosen for the similarity it would yield to Bailey when made into an acronym. In particular, "a" for "and" is usually omitted from acronyms; it really ought to be BILII. – phoog Oct 18 at 7:35

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