law report


law report
In common law, a published record of a judicial decision that is cited by lawyers and judges as legal precedent in arguing and deciding cases.

The report contains the title of the case, a statement of the facts, a brief case history, the opinion of the court, and the judgment rendered. It often contains a headnote, or analytical summary stating the points decided. The findings of trial courts are not ordinarily reported, but those of appellate courts are.

* * *

      in common law, published record of a judicial decision that is cited by lawyers and judges for their use as precedent in subsequent cases. The report of a decision ordinarily contains the title of the case, a statement of the facts giving rise to the litigation, and its history in the courts. It then reproduces the opinion of the court and concludes with the court's judgment—affirming or reversing the judgment of the court below. The report of a modern decision is usually preceded by an analytic summary of the opinion, called a headnote, that states the points decided.

      The earliest English court reports were the Year Books produced from the late 13th to the 16th century. From 1537 until 1865 hundreds of series of English reports were published under the names of the reporters themselves. During both periods reporting was a disorganized private enterprise, the reporters being volunteers who made and circulated notes of court proceedings and decisions. Their work was very uneven, and reports were often overlapping and irreconcilable. The modern report form was standardized in the second half of the 18th century, and in 1865 the Law Reports, though still privately published, were established as semiofficial. In England today a law reporter must be a barrister-at-law who signifies that he has followed the hearing and can vouch for the accuracy of the report. Although all decisions of the highest English appellate court, the House of Lords (Lords, House of), are reported, decisions of other courts of appeals are reported only if they reveal a new principle or application of law. Comparatively few decisions of lower courts are reported.

      The first state and federal reports in the United States were also privately published under the reporter's name, although the appointment of an official reporter was an early development. Today reported opinions are almost invariably written by the court and are officially published. Late in the 19th century a private publishing concern began unofficial publication of all state and federal reports in the National Reporter System, a practice that continues today.

      Until recently, the decisions of most U.S. appellate courts were reported and published unless they dealt with settled propositions of law. Since most trial courts do not write opinions, their findings are not ordinarily reported. However, in jurisdictions such as New York, Pennsylvania, and the federal district courts, where trial courts prepare opinions in a substantial number of cases, many of them are reported and published. The growing volume of legal precedent has created considerable burdens for legal scholarship and libraries. Consequently, many U.S. courts have begun to report their decisions on a much more selective basis.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Law report — Law reports or reporters are series of books which contain judicial opinions from a selection of cases that have been decided by the courts. When a particular judicial opinion is referenced, the law report series in which the opinion is printed… …   Wikipedia

  • law report — ➔ report1 * * * law report UK US noun [C] ► LAW an official published record of court cases: »An absence in the law reports of any recorded precedents meant my case was dismissed …   Financial and business terms

  • law report — /ˈlɔ rəpɔt/ (say law ruhpawt) noun the published account of a legal proceeding, stating the facts of the case, the principles of law involved, and the reasons given by the court for its decision …   Australian English dictionary

  • law report — A publication containing the opinions of a court or courts in actual cases, sometimes, as in the case of the American Law Reports, containing annotations showing additional cases upon or cognate to the point or points decided in the reported case …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • report — re·port 1 n: a usu. detailed account or statement: as a: an account or statement of the facts of a case heard and of the decision and opinion of the court or of a quasi judicial tribunal determining the case b: a written submission of a question… …   Law dictionary

  • report out — vt: to return after consideration and often with revisions to a legislative body for action after much debate the committee reported the bill out Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • report against — index accuse, denounce (inform against), inform (betray) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • report inaccurately — index misinform Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • report intended to delude — index canard Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Law — /law/, n. 1. Andrew Bonar /bon euhr/, 1858 1923, English statesman, born in Canada: prime minister 1922 23. 2. John, 1671 1729, Scottish financier. 3. William, 1686 1761, English clergyman and devotional writer. * * * I Discipline and profession… …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.