A docket contains a summary of the basic information about a litigation, bankruptcy, or other type of court case. This generally includes the case (or “docket” or “index”) number, court, assigned judge, relief demanded, nature of suit, type of claim alleged, criminal information, case status, litigants, and attorneys. Dockets also contain a summary of most, if not all, of the documents on file with the court, as well as a record of certain events in the life of a case.
Dockets provide an ongoing record of the case, allowing attorneys to obtain information, monitor filings and avoid missing deadlines. Obtaining new dockets can also alert attorneys to new lawsuits that have begun against their clients or potential clients.
This is the court’s calendar of certain case events, such as oral arguments. While many courts call this a calendar, some call it a docket. To distinguish this from a case docket, we refer to these only as calendars.
From the Pacer site: “Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from federal appellate, district and bankruptcy courts, and the PACER Case Locator via the Internet. PACER is provided by the federal Judiciary in keeping with its commitment to providing public access to court information via a centralized service.” Go to the PACER site to get an account.
Generally, yes. There are various sources available you can use to obtain opinions without any cost. For example, you can obtain free written opinions using PACER. Written opinions have been defined by the Judicial Conference as “any document issued by a judge or judges of the court sitting in that capacity, that sets forth a reasoned explanation for a court’s decision.” The responsibility for determining which documents meet this definition rests with the authoring judge.
Various US District and Bankruptcy opinions are available from CourtWEB, and from individual court sites.
The GPO with the AOUSC has made available many opinions from US Appellate, District, and Bankruptcy Courts here.
These are just a few of many sources that can be used.
You can locate an attorney’s contact information and bar membership status. You can confirm their license to practice and see if they have had any disciplinary actions brought against them. If you are an attorney you can confirm your own information. *Please note it is not mandatory to join the bar association in every state.