reporter | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee


Course: Introduction

A reporter is a series of books containing the written judicial opinions of a particular court.

In the context of law, a reporter is a publication that compiles the written decisions of a court. The decisions are typically selected for their significance or precedent-setting value and are published in a bound volume along with headnotes, syllabi, and other editorial features that provide context and facilitate research.

Reporters are most commonly associated with appellate courts, which are responsible for hearing appeals of lower court decisions. Each state and federal court system typically has its own set of reporters, which may be published by private companies or by the courts themselves.

One of the most well-known reporters in the United States is the United States Reports, which is the official reporter of the U.S. Supreme Court. It contains the full text of Supreme Court decisions, as well as summaries of the cases and other editorial features. Other notable reporters include the Federal Reporter (which compiles decisions from the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals), the South Eastern Reporter (which covers state court decisions from the southeastern U.S.), and the California Reporter (which covers decisions from California state courts).

Reporters are an important resource for lawyers, judges, and legal scholars, as they provide a comprehensive record of the court’s decisions and the reasoning behind them. By studying past decisions in a particular area of law, lawyers can better understand the legal principles and precedents that govern their cases. Judges may also rely on precedent from previous cases when deciding new cases with similar issues. Legal scholars may use reporters to analyze trends in judicial decision-making, as well as to assess the impact of legal rulings on society.

In recent years, many reporters have been made available online, making it easier for legal professionals and researchers to access court decisions from anywhere with an internet connection. Some courts have even begun publishing their own decisions online, further expanding access to legal information. However, despite these technological advancements, the printed reporter remains an important tool for legal research and analysis.

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Last Modified: 07/06/2021


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