California Official Reports website
Anyone who regularly researches California appellate cases should have the Lexis Advance California Official Reports site bookmarked in their internet browser. This is a free internet website that allows a researcher to retrieve the text of California appellate decisions. The site has recently been re-formatted by Lexis. The publisher has added to the screen its Big Red search box as found on the screens of the subscription version of Lexis Advance. Lexis provides this free, limited service as part of its contractual relationship with the California courts.
Searching on this site does not have all the capabilities that a full Lexis subscription offers. Keywords searching is available. But, by knowing a few search tips beforehand (no information is available on the public site) you can limit your search results to a more manageable file.
- Know the name of one of the parties? Use name search shorthand. name(levi)
- Use phrase searching. yellow w/2 cab The “w/” stands for “within” and the number for the number of words between the keywords
- or even name(yellow w/2 cab)
- Have a sense of the date of the opinion? Use the date shorthand with the keywords. and =2017 or and <2015 (before 2015) or and >2009 (after 2009)
You can be more specific with a date and a keyword.
Here is an example:
This public resource should be viewed as a repository of opinions. The database is not current. It is only updated monthly. Opinions are available through the site within 60 days.
You can search for the more recent opinions on the official California courts site but searching capabilities are limited. No keyword searching.
To obtain electronic copies of recent unpublished decisions use – http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions-nonpub.htm
- Unpublished or “non-citable” opinions are opinions that are not certified for publication in Official Reports and generally may not be cited or relied on by other courts or parties in other actions (see California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115).
To obtain more recent electronic copies of recently published decisions – http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions-slip.htm
- Published or “citable” opinions of the appellate courts are opinions ordered published in the Official Reports, and may be cited or relied on by other courts and parties.
Here is the message from the free case site from Lawrence W. Striley, Reporter of Decisions for the California appellate courts. The Reporter of Decisions is responsible for supervising the preparation of more than 12,000 California Supreme Court and Court of Appeal opinions each year, including opinions published in both the Official California Reports and the Official California Appellate Reports as well as unpublished opinions posted on the judicial branch’s California Courts Web site.