Records and Briefs

Copy of lower court trial decision needed?

Need to see the arguments presented in a case with a very similar fact pattern to yours?

Looking for the original complaint in a case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court?

Want to get the actual transcript of a trial?


All of these – and more – may be contained in a set of materials called the “records and briefs.”

NYLI Records and Briefs

As a court case makes its way through the legal system, it generates an extensive paper trail. For a case that goes up on appeal, the briefs are the written arguments filed by the parties before the appellate court judge. The record is its associated paperwork, such as the original complaint or summons, the actual lower court judgment, decision or order that is being appealed, the trial transcript expert witness testimony, and various other supporting materials.

Access to briefs can give an idea of how exactly a winning case was argued, while the record will often include documents that are not available anywhere else.

The NYLI collection includes records and briefs for several different federal and state courts.

Make a Request:

To request copies of a record or brief, use the Request a Document form, or call us at 212 732 8720.

Please be able to provide the case name, official citation, and, if available for New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division cases, the fiche ID.

U.S. SUPREME COURT

Coverage: 

  • 1969 (396 US) to 1999 (530 US)
  • 2003 - Present: Available to NYLI staff through Bloomberg Law: (Docket Sheets: Briefs and Exhibits)

U.S. COURT OF APPEALS

Coverage: 

  • 100 F. 2d (1938) – 538 F. 2d (1976): Bound volumes
  • 539 F. 2d (1977) – 930 F. 2d (1996): Microform
  • 1997 - Present:Available to NYLI staff through Bloomberg Law: (Docket Sheets: Briefs and Exhibits)

NEW YORK COURT OF APPEALS

Coverage: 

  • 23 NY (1863) – 269 NY (1935): Electronic access through LLMC-Digital
  • 1 NY2d (1956) – 98 NY2d (2002): Microform*
*67 NY2d (1986) - 82 NY2d (1994): Soon to be available on LLMC, available upon request.

NEW YORK SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION -  All Departments

Coverage: 

  • 261 AD (1941) - 37 AD2d (1971): Currently being digitized, available upon request.
  • 38 AD2d (1972) – 99 AD2d (1984): Microform
  • 100 AD2d (1984) – October 2013; Microform

Records and briefs are distributed to library collections approximately six months after the decision date for a case.

Note: To locate a fiche ID number, open the NYS Unified Court System Libraries website and search the Records and Briefs Index (in the Library Services menu on the left side of the page). NYLI also maintains a paper list of fiche ID numbers for cases decided between 1984 and 1990, ID numbers for other cases not available in the Index must be requested from the New York State Library.

ONLINE ACCESS

Online access to some briefs (on a case-by-case basis) for the Supreme Court, the 2nd Circuit, the New York Court of Appeals and the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division courts may be available through our Bloomberg Law subscription (ask staff).

Selected briefs in cases before the Appellate Division, 2nd Department, starting in 2004, are available from the court website directly.

Starting in December 2011, the New York Law Institute, working in cooperation with the Law Library Microform Consortium (LLMC) and Google is making historical New York Court of Appeals records and briefs available online through LLMC-Digital. Records and briefs for cases decided between 1863 and 1935 are currently available, and coverage is being expanded continuously.