Are Federal Court Opinions Free?

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.

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