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Caselaw Access Project

360 Years of U.S. Caselaw Accessible via API or Web App

Tool Category:

Legal Insights


The Caselaw Access Project is an fascinating effort to digitize all US caselaw and make it available via API or web app. The project includes all state and federal courts in addition to territorial courts for American Samoa, Dakota Territory, Guam, Native American Courts, Navajo Nation, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The project includes 360 years of cases, from 1618 to 2018.

Some of the data has been hand-checked, including party names, docker numbers, citations and dates. Case text is and head matter is available, but it's been generated via OCR and is not guaranteed to have been reviewed. The project accepts corrects and edits to its process via its GitHub issue tracker, but they do not solicit or respond to individual OCR issues identified.

Some of the data cannot currently be used for commercial applications, though this will likely change in the future. According to the project "case metadata, such as the case name, citation, court, date, etc., is freely and openly accessible without limitation," but, while "full case text can be freely viewed or downloaded ... you must register for an account to do so, and currently you may view or download no more than 500 cases per day." You can negotiate for a bulk access agreement, but it appears that commercial uses are currently limited by an agreement between Harvard and Ravel Law, Inc. (now part of Lexis-Nexis). According to the project,

these limitations will end, at the latest, in March of 2024. In addition, these limitations apply only to cases from jurisdictions that continue to publish their official case law in print form. Once a jurisdiction transitions from print-first publishing to digital-first publishing, these limitations cease. Thus far, Illinois, Arkansas, New Mexico, and North Carolina have made this important and positive shift and, as a result, all historical cases from these jurisdictions are freely available to the public without restriction. We hope many other jurisdictions will follow their example soon.


Open Source:Yes
Paid Support:Yes





360 Years of Caselaw Data Yields Interesting Insights

The Caselaw Access project provides a cool tool to use their API to search for trends in caselaw over time. Asbestos... as American as baseball?


Top-Notch API Documentation

The Caselaw Access project's API docs are excellent. They're comprehensive, clear and well-structured.


360 Years of Caselaw via API

The project provides a full-featured, open API that you can use to access their data in your own applications.


Full Text Search via Web App or API

You can use the Caselaw Access Project website to query their dataset and they helpfully also provide you with the necessary API calls to request the data.


Nice Visualizations and Map-based Navigation

The Caselaw Access Project's home page provides a great map you can use to navigate the millions of cases and hundreds of reporters they've digitized and made available to the public.