case file | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Courts

A case file is a comprehensive collection of all documents filed in court for a specific legal case, serving as an organized record of its history.

A case file is the comprehensive collection of all documents filed in court for a specific legal case. It serves as a record of all the information, evidence, and legal proceedings related to that particular case. Case files are essential in the legal system, as they help to ensure transparency, maintain an accurate account of the case’s history, and provide all parties involved with easy access to relevant information.

A case file can contain various types of documents, depending on the nature of the case and the legal system’s requirements. These documents may include:

Complaints or petitions: These are the initial documents filed by the plaintiff (the person or entity bringing the case) that outline the basis for the legal action and the desired outcome.

Answers or responses: These are documents filed by the defendant (the person or entity being sued or charged) in response to the plaintiff’s complaints or petitions. They address each allegation and provide the defendant’s perspective on the case.

Motions: These are formal requests made by either party asking the court to take a specific action, such as dismissing the case, granting a summary judgment, or extending a deadline.

Court orders: These are decisions made by the judge or magistrate in the case, directing the parties to take specific actions or making rulings on various issues.

Discovery materials: During the discovery phase of a case, both parties exchange information and evidence related to the case. These materials can include interrogatories (written questions), requests for admissions, requests for the production of documents, and depositions (oral testimony).

Pleadings and briefs: These are legal documents filed by both parties that present their arguments, cite relevant laws and case precedents, and explain why the court should rule in their favor.

Exhibits: These are physical or digital items, such as photographs, documents, or audio recordings, presented as evidence during the trial.

Transcripts: These are written records of all oral proceedings in the case, such as hearings, depositions, and the trial itself.

Witness statements and affidavits: These are written accounts provided by witnesses or experts involved in the case, which may be used as evidence or to support a party’s arguments.

Final judgments or verdicts: These are the court’s official decisions in the case, either issued by a judge or determined by a jury, which resolves the dispute and may include monetary awards or other remedies.

Case files are typically maintained by the court’s clerk, who is responsible for ensuring that all documents are properly filed, organized, and accessible to the parties involved and the public. In many jurisdictions, case files are now digitized and available online, making it easier for parties and their attorneys to access and review the information.

It is important to note that some documents in a case file may be confidential or sealed, meaning they are not accessible to the public. This can happen for various reasons, such as to protect sensitive information, respect privacy rights, or maintain the integrity of ongoing investigations.

In summary, a case file serves as a crucial record of all legal proceedings and documents related to a specific case. It helps maintain transparency, provides necessary information for all parties involved, and ensures an accurate account of the case’s history.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 05/06/2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.