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Criminal Justice: Trials, Courts, & Law

This General LibGuide covers general topics within the Criminal Justice major

Case Law

What is Case Law?

Case law is defined as reported decisions of appeals courts and other courts which make new interpretations of the law and, therefore, can be cited as precedents. Case law is law established by judicial decisions instead of by legislative action. 

Publication of Case Law

Not all case law is published.  Generally, appellate court decisions that will be used as future precedent are published (reported) in sources (case reporters) specific to that court.  Attorneys use published case law as a means to interpret the law.  For these reasons, few trial court decisions are published in case reporters.

Legal Reference


Types of Law

3 types of Law Info-graphic

Reading Legal Citations

Reading Legal Citations

Reading a Legal Citation info-graphic see links below for more in-depth information

Nexis Uni

NexiUni Law Image