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Introduction to Legal Materials

A Manual for Non-Law Librarians in Missouri

Published by The Missouri Bar

This manual is a collaborative project of The Missouri Bar and staff from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Library. Permission to modify the original Wisconsin version of this manual was generously granted by the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin.




Courts Overview

Federal Courts

Missouri State Courts

Circuit Court Personnel

Court Opinions

Sources-Federal Court Opinions

Court of Appeals and District Court Opinions

Specialized Courts

Sources in Missouri Court Opinions

Supreme Court of Missouri and Missouri Court of Appeals

Case Digests

Sources – Federal Digest

Sources – Missouri Digests

Jury Instructions



Local Ordinances

Sources – Federal Law

Sources in Missouri Laws

Sources – Federal Constitution

Sources – Missouri Constitution

Bills and Legislative History


Administrative Regulations and Decisions

Sources – Federal Administrative Law

Sources – Missouri Administrative Regulations

Attorney General Opinions

Missouri Attorney General Opinions



Legal Dictionaries

Legal Directories

Legal Encyclopedias


Legal Forms


Legal Periodical Indexes

Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals

Legal Research Text and Manuals





Appendix B Glossary

Appendix C Major Missouri Law Libraries

Appendix D Bibliography on Public Access to Legal Information

Appendix E Map of Missouri Court of Appeals District

Appendix F Map of Missouri Judicial Circuits


This manual was made possible though the groundbreaking work of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin. Although The Missouri Bar and Law Librarians Cynthia Shearrer and Steven Lambson from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law have provided the information pertaining to Missouri’s court system and Missouri legal resources, the bulk of this Manual is reprinted from the Wisconsin version, developed by the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin.

The Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin is a chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries and represents all segments of the law library community, including private, corporate, county, state, federal and academic law libraries. The objectives of LLAW are to promote law librarianship, to enhance the usefulness of law libraries, and to foster a spirit of cooperation among members.

In 1989, the Public Access to Legal Information Committee (PALI) of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin produced the first edition of this manual as a guide for non-law librarians who are occasionally called upon to answer questions involving legal materials.

Many Missouri libraries will maintain a current set of the Missouri Revised Statutes, but few other primary legal resources. Consult Appendix C for a listing of the Missouri libraries that provide the most comprehensive legal collections in the state. Contact one of these libraries for additional information about the titles discussed in this manual or with questions involving legal bibliographies. Trained law librarians are available to assist with inquiries and to provide instruction in legal research procedures. For further reading on the subject of legal research, consult section V, “Other Research Tools.”


Courts Overview

Federal and state courts in the United States are primarily involved in settling disputes between private parties and determining the guilt or innocence of persons accused of committing federal or state crimes. Federal and most state court systems are comprised of three levels – a trial level, an intermediate appellate level, and a final appellate level. Most states have a number of municipal level courts, such as traffic courts, that are limited in their authority by type of dispute or amount of money involved in the litigation.

A higher court’s opinion on a particular issue is binding on a lower court in the same jurisdiction. The policy of courts to stand by precedent and refrain from disturbing settled points is based on a legal doctrine known as “stare decisis.” Courts are limited to ruling on matters within their jurisdictions, which may be defined geographically or by the type of case that a court may consider.

Federal Courts

U.S. Supreme Court

This is the highest court in the United States. It is comprised of the Chief Justice and eight associate justices. The power to nominate justices is vested in the President and appointments are made with the advice and consent of the Senate. Justices are appointed for lifetime tenure. The Supreme Court meets in Washington, D.C., for an annual term that begins on the first Monday in October and usually ends during the first week in July. The court’s primary function is to hear cases that question the constitutionality of federal or state statutes. It also hears cases on appeal from the states’ highest courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Courts. U.S. Supreme Court opinions are binding on all lower federal and state courts. The Supreme Court has the discretion to grant or deny a hearing for most cases brought before it. Furthermore, cases brought to the court may result in a summary action, in which the lower court’s opinion is simply affirmed or vacated and no explanation is provided by the Supreme Court itself.

U.S. Court of Appeals

The U.S. Court of Appeals occupies the second tier in the hierarchy of federal courts. There are 13 U.S. Court of Appeals circuits, including 11 numbered circuits which have regional jurisdiction, a District of Columbia Circuit, and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit located in Washington, D.C., which has nationwide jurisdiction to hear specific types of cases. These courts hear appeals from the U.S. District Courts. The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit sits in St. Louis and hears appeals from the federal District Courts in Missouri, Arkansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa. Usually cases are heard by a panel of three judges, although a majority of judges of a particular circuit may order a hearing or a rehearing before all the judges. Federal appeals court opinions are binding on U.S. District Courts within the circuit and may be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rules, opinions and other information regarding the Eighth Circuit may be found on the Court’s official Web site: http: //www.ca8.uscourts.gov


U.S. District Court

The trial court and court of original jurisdiction in the federal system is the United States District Court. District Courts hear civil and criminal cases arising under federal law and cases where citizens of two or more states (or a citizen and an alien) are in conflict. At least one district, usually more, exists in each state. The number of District Courts within a state is determined by population and geographic area of the state. District Courts usually do not extend across state lines. Missouri is divided into two districts; the court for the Eastern District of Missouri sits in St. Louis, but also hears cases in Hannibal and Cape Girardeau; the court for the Western District is in Kansas City, but also hears cases in Springfield and Jefferson City. Usually one District Court judge hears a case, although there may be one or many judges assigned to each district. Many District Court opinions are unpublished and may only be available through the clerk of the court or an electronic legal database. Additional information about the U.S. District Courts may be found online at: http://www.uscourts.gov/.

U.S. Specialized Court

Many specialized courts have been formed to handle cases in a particular area of the law or to relieve overcrowding on the calendar of a court already in existence. The Bankruptcy Court, Tax Court and Claims Court are examples of such courts. Online information about special federal courts may be found at: http://www.uscourts.gov/.

Missouri State Courts

Supreme Court of Missouri

The Supreme Court reviews decisions made by the trial courts and certain administrative agencies and writes opinions published in the Southwestern Reporter (also available on the Supreme Court website) In addition, it resolves conflicts between opinions of the districts of the Court of Appeals.

There are seven judges of the Supreme Court. They are appointed under the nonpartisan court plan. They serve 12-year terms, and if the voters approve may serve additional 12-year terms.

The Supreme Court may sit en banc (all seven judges) or in divisions of not less than three judges. A majority of a division constitutes a quorum, and all orders, judgments, and decrees of a division have the force and effect of those of the court.

A case in the Supreme Court is transferred to the court en banc when the members of a division are equally divided in opinion, or when the division orders the transfer. It also transfers cases to the court en banc when the losing party requests it and when a member of the division dissents from the opinion.

The Supreme Court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction (meaning the cases must be appealed to it) in cases involving: 1: Validity of a treaty or statute of the United States or Missouri statute; 2: Construction of the state’s revenue laws; 3: Title to a state office; 4: All criminal cases where the punishment imposed is death.

The Supreme Court has superintending and supervisory authority over all other courts in Missouri. The Chief Justice is the chief administrative officer of the judicial system and supervises the administration of the courts. Unlike the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court is elected by the other judges on the Supreme Court for a term of two years. The Court follows the practice of rotating the office of Chief Justice. When judges finish a term of Chief Justice, they remain on the Court unless they retire. The Court exercises its supervisory powers through the office of the State Courts Administrator. That office performs many clerical and research tasks for the state judicial system.

The Court may, if it believes it necessary for the proper administration of justice, assign circuit and appellate court judges to sit on any court as a special judge. Retired judges may be specially assigned as senior judges.

Routine transfers of judges between circuits, numbering in the thousands each year, are handled on a case-by-­case basis by the Office of the State Courts Administrator.

The Supreme Court has rule-making power with respect to practice, procedure and pleading in all courts and administrative tribunals. Those rules may be annulled or amended by the General Assembly. The rules adopted are published in Vernon ‘s Annotated Missouri Rules (V A.M.R., published by West Publishing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota). The rules are also published in “Missouri Rules of Court-State and Federal, ” also by West Publishing. They can also be found on the Supreme Court of Missouri website at www.courts.mo.gov.

The Supreme Court serves as the trial court in impeachment cases involving state officers except in cases where the party is the Governor or a Supreme Court Judge.

Missouri Court of Appeals

The intermediate appeals court reviews the decisions made by the trial courts and certain administrative agencies and writes opinions that are published in the Southwestern Reporter (published by West Publishing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota). The Missouri Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over all appeals other than those over which the Supreme Court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction.

A. There are three Districts of the Missouri Court of Appeals (see Appendix E):

1. Eastern District (Wainwright State Office Building, 111 N. 7th Street, St. Louis, Missouri, 63101)

2. Western District (1300 Oak Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106)

3. Southern District (300 Hammons Parkway, Springfield, Missouri 65806),

The Court of Appeals judges are appointed under the nonpartisan court plan. They serve 12-year terms, and if the voters approve may serve additional 12-year terms.

Decisions of the Court of Appeals are final unless the Court of Appeals transfers the case to the Supreme Court or the Supreme Court orders transfer of the case.

In jury-tried cases, the appellate court reviews both the law and the facts to see that the evidence supports the jury’s verdict and that no reversible error has been committed on the law by the trial court. The appellate court does give deference to the jury’s verdict.

In cases tried without a jury and in equitable cases, the appellate court must uphold the trial court’s decree or judgment unless the appellate court finds that:

1. There is no substantial evidence to support it; or

2. It is against the weight of the evidence; or

3. It erroneously declares the law; or

4. It erroneously applies the law.

The trial court, commonly referred to as the circuit court, has several divisions. These divisions are staffed by circuit judges, associate circuit judges, probate judges, municipal judges and commissioners (juvenile, family and probate division). The presiding judge of a circuit is elected by peers for a two-year term, and is the chief administrative officer over all circuit divisions. All legal cases, except certain administrative proceedings and most cases involving “extraordinary” remedies, originate in the circuit court. It has general jurisdiction of all civil and criminal matters.

Circuit Court of Missouri

There are three divisions in the circuit court:

Municipal division. This division handles municipal ordinance violations, such as traffic offenses and housing code violations. In the municipal division, cases are initiated by the filing of information (a document that charges a person with a crime or violation of an ordinance) by a municipal prosecutor. The prosecutor initiates the case either on his own knowledge, information or belief or based on the verified complaint of some other person.

Municipalities may have these cases heard by an associate circuit judge of the county or municipalities may – at their own expense provide a municipal judge or judges, support personnel and suitable quarters for the municipal division. Most municipalities have their own municipal judges, support personnel and quarters in which these cases are heard. Cases are generally not heard by an associate circuit judge unless it is a trial de novo (a trial that starts over, as if a previous trial had not occurred.)

Municipalities of over 400,000 population are required by statute to have municipal division courts to hear ordinance violation cases. In Missouri, municipal judges must be lawyers, except in cities of less than 7,500 population in other than first-class counties. Non-lawyer judges must complete a course of instruction prescribed by the Supreme Court of Missouri.

Associate Circuit Division. Each associate circuit judge may hear and determine criminal and civil cases or classes of cases that include any equitable issues and relief.

Criminal cases

Misdemeanors and infractions are offenses punishable by fine and/or jail sentence. Associate circuit judges hear and decide this type of case. These cases are initiated by the filing of an information by the prosecuting or circuit attorney, either on his own knowledge, information or belief or based on the verified complaint of some other person.

Felony criminal cases are offenses punishable by a prison sentence and/or a fine. Before the filing of the information, these cases are begun by the filing of a complaint verified by the prosecuting attorney or complainant. The associate circuit judge then conducts a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is probable cause to find that a felony has been committed and that the defendant committed it. If probable cause is found, the defendant is bound over for trial in the circuit court and the prosecuting attorney then files an information.

Civil Cases

Certain classes of cases must be filed before an associate circuit judge (unless otherwise assigned by the presiding judge or by local court rule). These include:

i. “Small Claims” cases (disputes where the amount in controversy does not exceed $3,000 exclusive of interest and costs). These are relatively informal procedures not requiring the representation of a party by a lawyer.

ii. Municipal ordinance violation cases of a municipality with a population of under 400,000 for which a municipal judge is not provided.

iii. Unlawful detainer and rent and possession cases.

Each associate circuit judge who serves as the judge of the probate division of the circuit court may hear and determine all cases and matters within the probate division of the circuit court in the county for which he sits in accordance with the rules of civil procedure, except where specific statutes govern procedure in the probate division.

Circuit Division

The Circuit Division handles all cases not specifically allocated to one of the other divisions (municipal, associate and probate).

These include: All felony cases; misdemeanor cases initiated in this division; civil cases; equity cases, such as domestic relations and injunctions; extraordinary remedy cases; and traffic offenses and matters involving juveniles (persons under 17 years of age).

In all counties and in the City of St. Louis there is a probate division. In counties with a population of more than 400,000 the probate judge or circuit judges may also appoint one commissioner of the probate court.

Family Court

Any circuit can by local rule establish a family court. These courts handle legal issues such as dissolution of marriage, legal separation, child custody and modification actions, adoptions, abuse and neglect, and juvenile matters. Family courts have been established in St. Louis City and the following counties: Boone, Callaway, Clay, Franklin, Greene, Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln, St. Charles, St. Louis City and St. Louis County.

Drug Court

These are treatment-based alternatives to prison, youth services facilities and detention centers, jails and standard probation models. Drug court policies are developed by each jurisdiction to meet the specific needs of the community. Most drug courts are pre-plea courts, meaning charges are deferred while the person is actively participating in the program.


Jury trials are available in cases tried before circuit and associate circuit judges but not in cases tried before municipal judges in the municipal division. If a jury trial is requested in a case in the municipal division, the case must be transferred to the presiding circuit judge for reassignment.

Juries consist of 12 persons except that six-person juries are permitted by agreement in cases tried before associate circuit judges. The role of the jury is to determine the facts of the case and apply those facts to the law of the case in arriving at a verdict.

Jury trials are not available in extraordinary remedy cases or in cases of an equitable nature. Examples of equitable cases are requests for injunctions and restraining orders and dissolution of marriage cases.

All proceedings before circuit judges must be recorded by a certified court reporter (as it is a “court of record”). If a jury trial is held before an associate circuit judge, the testimony must be recorded by a court reporter or by an electronic recording device. Cases before an associate circuit judge must also be recorded when the demand exceeds $5,000.

Circuit Court Personnel

Circuit Judges

Missouri statutes establish 45 judicial circuits. (see Appendix F). The number of circuit judges in each circuit is set by the legislature, but each circuit must have at least one circuit judge. A circuit judge is elected as presiding judge in each circuit, by vote of the circuit and associate circuit judges in that circuit.

In most counties circuit judges are elected by popular vote, but in certain metropolitan counties they are appointed under the nonpartisan court plan. They serve six-year terms.

Associate Circuit Judges

Every county must have at least one associate circuit judge. Some larger counties and the City of St. Louis have more than one, as provided by statute. Associate circuit judges are elected by popular vote in most counties, but in certain metropolitan counties they are appointed under the nonpartisan court plan. They serve four-year terms.

Judges of Municipal Divisions

Municipal ordinances determine how judges of the Municipal Division are selected in each city that has a municipal division.


Commissioners may be appointed to hear cases in the following circuit court divisions: probate, drug court and family court. Commissioners have the same powers and duties of judges, but their orders, judgments and decrees are confirmed or rejected by a judge.

Probate commissioners may be appointed by the judge of the probate division of the circuit court of any county that has a population of more than 400,000. Drug commissioners maybe appointed by a majority of the judges in a judicial circuit having a drug court. And, family court commissioners may be appointed by a majority of the circuit and associate circuit judges in circuits having family courts.


Circuit clerks are elected in every county. Their role is to maintain the court’s records, except in St. Louis County and Jackson County where the clerk’s job is performed by a court administrator appointed by the circuit judges.

Most circuit clerks have at least one or two deputy clerks; in larger counties and the City of St. Louis, numerous deputy clerks are hired, including those who serve in courtrooms. Clerks serving associate circuit judges are called “division clerks” and generally are hired by the associate circuit judge, though they are technically under the supervision of the circuit clerk. Municipal clerks are selected in accordance with city ordinances.

The Appeals Process

Appeals from cases heard by circuit judges go to the Court of Appeals unless they involve issues within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

Cases heard by associate circuit judges, other than probate matters, where no record is required, may be appealed to a circuit judge for a trial de novo, which means an entirely new trial, as if the case is being tried for the first time. In all other contested cases where a record has been kept, an appeal may be had upon that record to the appropriate appellate court. Appeals from the probate division go to the Court of Appeals. And in the municipal division, cases may be appealed to the circuit court for a new trial (trial de novo), and after that trial may be appealed to the Court of Appeals.

Court Opinions


Opinions to be published are first issued as individual slip opinions. In Missouri (and most other states), opinions are only issued at the appellate level. Slip opinions are printed by the court and are available from the court clerk of the particular jurisdiction or the court library. The slip opinions are then re-issued as advance sheets, which in turn are ultimately replaced by bound volumes. (Advance sheets are published by commercial publishers for Missouri courts and federal courts.) Opinions are also available in various specialized reporters and loose-leaf services, often several months prior to publication in advance sheets or bound volumes.

Sets of books known as court reports or reporters exist for the U. S. Supreme Court, all federal courts, individual states, regional groups of states, special courts, and particular topics. West Group’s National Reporter System divides the United States into the following regions, each with its own reporter: Atlantic, North Eastern, North Western, Pacific, South Eastern, South Western, and Southern. These regional reporters publish opinions from the state supreme courts and most intermediate appellate courts in each region.

The full text of published opinions of federal and state courts are now available electronically, as identified below in the sections labeled Electronic Access. These sources provide alternatives to fee-based databases such as LexisNexis and Westlaw. U.S. Supreme Court opinions are online within hours of issuance. Unpublished opinions may be available online as well.

The contents of printed court reports are similar regardless of publisher. Although the order of the elements in the case may vary according to a particular judge’s writing style or the publisher’s practices, the following elements are usually included:

1. Names of the parties

2. Citation (legal reference to location of opinion)

3. Court docket number

4. Date the case was decided

5. Court in which the case was decided

6. Synopsis (facts and circumstances of the case)

7. Head notes (legal issues raised by the facts)

8. Syllabus (case history and explanation of how the case came before the court)

9. Opinion of the court

10. Opinion(s) of the judge’s)

Opinions may be difficult to read for a number of reasons, including writing style, the legal language and terminology, and the fact that many cases deal with a number of complex legal issues.

Sources-Federal Court Opinions

U.S. Supreme Court

United States Reports (U.S.). Government Printing Office.

The official reporter for cases heard by the Supreme Court. Although it is always preferable to cite to this official version, one major problem is the long time lapse between date of opinion and date of publication.

Supreme Court Reporter (S. Ct). West Group. An unofficial edition of Supreme Court opinions. Its assets include speed of publication (usually within two to three weeks of opinion date in the advance sheet format), editorial headnotes, and the key number system that allows a researcher to find other federal and state court cases on the same subject matter in other units of West Group’s National Reporter System. After the close of each term, bound volumes are printed containing the material found in the earlier advance sheets. Parallel citations to the U. S. Reports are included when they become available. Advance sheets contain the same pagination as the bound volumes; thus, it is permissible to cite to advance sheets.

United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers’ Edition (L.Ed.). LexisNexis. The Lawyers’ Edition, first and second series, is an unofficial edition of Supreme Court cases published in advance sheet and bound volume form. It is valuable for rapidity of publication, added headnotes, summaries of cases, and annotations. In addition, it is the only source for summaries of attorneys’ briefs and the only source that provides pocket part supplementation containing corrections and updates to the information contained in the main volume. Parallel citations to the U.S. Reports and Supreme Court Reporter are included.

United States Law Week (U.S.L. W.). Bureau of National Affairs.

Because Supreme Court opinions set precedent for all other courts, both state and federal, it is often necessary to have access to Supreme Court cases before they appear in the official and unofficial reporters mentioned above. Opinions appear in their entirety in U. S. L. W usually within a week of opinion date. The Supreme Court sections are in loose-leaf format and provide further assistance in determining the status and history of a case prior to opinions by the Supreme Court. They contain summaries of orders, a journal of proceedings, a list of cases docketed, summaries of cases and arguments before the court, and indexes. The general law sections contain information concerning lower court opinions, but not their full text.

United States Supreme Court Bulletin (S.Ct.Bull.). Commerce Clearing House.

Opinions of the Supreme Court are published in full in this loose-leaf service within 48 hours after the opinion is handed down. This is a valuable resource for anyone needing more current access to the full text. It also has an excellent status table.

Electronic Access

Findlaw http://www.findlaw.com

Search federal and state laws, the Federal Register, as well as opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal courts of appeal. Searchable by citation, party name or keyword.

U.S. Supreme Court http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/opinions.aspx

Access to page images of opinions published in the United States Reports since 1991, and recent slip opinions.

LexisOne http://www.lexisone.com

Search for U.S. Supreme Court opinions, 1790 to present by citation, keyword, party name, judge, counsel and date. Registration is required, but the content is free.

Fee Based Services

Loislaw http://www.loislaw.com

Search for U.S. Supreme Court opinions dating back to 1754 via multiple access points. This is a licensed resource available to registered users at several of Missouri’s law school libraries.

Court of Appeals and District Court Opinions

Federal Reporter (F.). 1st, 21, and 31 series. West Group.

Published opinions of the U. S. Courts of Appeals are published in the Federal Reporter, first in advance sheet and then in bound volumes. This set began publication in 1880 and until 1932 included opinions from the District Courts as well. The first series of the reporter stopped with v. 300; the second series began with volume one and stopped with v. 999; the current third series began with volume one. Prior to 1880, opinions of the Federal District and Appeals Courts are found in Federal Cases. The Federal Reporter is linked through the key number system to other units of the West Group National Reporter System.

Federal Supplement (F. Supp.). 1st and 2nd series. West Group.

District Court opinions sent to West Group by the clerks of the District Courts are published in the Federal Supplement, first in the advance sheets and then in bound volumes. The first series ended with v. 999 in 1998; the 2nd series began again with volume one.

Electronic Access

Westlaw Campus

This is a full-featured public Westlaw access, available to the public at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Library. Almost everything available through the lawyers’ version of Westlaw is available through this public service.

LexisOne http://www.lexisone.com

Search Federal Court of Appeals and District Court opinions dating back five years by citation, keyword, party name, judge, counsel and date. Registration is required, but the content is free.

PACER -Public Access to Court Electronic Records http://www.pacer.psc.uscourts.gov

PACER is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts. This is a fee-based service, although the cost is not typically prohibitive.

U. S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Opinions http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov

Search for opinions dating back to 1995 by case number or party name.

U.S. Court- Western District of Missouri Opinions http://www.mow.uscourts.gov (Access recent opinions by the judges of this court.)

U. S. Court-Eastern District of Missouri Opinions. http://ecf.moed.uscourts.gov/documents

Access recent opinions by word search or name of parties.

Findlaw http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ Links to all circuits and available districts Fee-Based Services

Loislaw http://www.loislaw.com

Search Federal Court of Appeals opinions dating back to the 1950’s via multiple access points. This is a licensed resource available to registered users at several of Missouri’s law school libraries.

LOIS Professional Library, United States Court of Appeals – 8th Circuit

Search opinions dating back to 1971 via a number of fields, including citation, name, docket number, court, date, attorney, judge, or keyword.

Specialized Courts

Opinions may be reported in special topical reporters or loose-leaf services. For example, Reports of the United States Tax Court (Government Printing Office), and Standard Federal Tax Reporter (Commerce Clearing House) contain published opinions of the U.S. Tax Court. Bankruptcy Court opinions are published in Bankruptcy Law Reporter (Commerce Clearing House) and Bankruptcy Reporter (West Group).

Electronic Access

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri Opinions


U.S. Court of Federal Claims Opinions http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov

Opinions are available from 1997 to the present and are accessible by year.

U.S. Tax Court Opinions http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/UstcInOp/asp/HistoricOptions.asp

Search opinions by release date, case name/keyword, and judge. Coverage for Tax Court Opinions and Memorandum Opinions begin 01 /01 /99; Summary Opinions begin 01 /01 /01.

Fee-Based Electronic Services

Loislaw http://www.loislaw.com

Search U.S. Tax Court opinions via multiple access points dating back to 1941. This is a licensed resource available to registered users at several of Missouri’s law libraries.

Sources of Missouri Court Opinions

Missouri Reports 1821-1956

Published opinions of the Supreme Court of Missouri

Missouri Appeal Reports 1876-1956

This is the official report for the Missouri Court of Appeals

Missouri South Western Reporter S. W. 21 and 31 Series. West Group

This regional reporter, as part of West Group’s National Reporter System, includes state supreme court and selected appeals court opinions from 1886 to the present for Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas. Each volume includes a table of cases arranged by state and a list of statutes affected. Advance sheets include summaries of opinions, cross-reference tables, and recent state Supreme Court rules and orders. The 1st series ended with v. 300 in 1941; the 2nd series began with volume 1 in 1942, ending in 2000 with v. 999; the 3rd series began in 2000 with vol. 1.

Electronic Access

Supreme Court of Missouri http://www.courts.mo.gov

Search opinions released since 1997 by keyword. New opinions may also be accessed on the day of their release. Sites for Court of Appeals cases are also linked from this site.

Supreme Court of Missouri and Missouri Court of Appeals

The Missouri Bar began archiving these cases in 2001. Each case is summarized and posted on its website as soon as it is handed down.

LexisOne http://www.lexisone.com

Search Missouri Supreme Court and Court of Appeals opinions from the previous five years by citation, keyword, party name, judge, counsel and date. Registration is required, but the content is free.

Fee-Based Services

Loislaw http://www.loislaw.com

Search Missouri Supreme Court opinions and Court of Appeals cases from 1919 – present. Cases may be searched by a number of fields, including citation, name, docket number, judge, attorney, or text. This is a licensed resource available to registered users at several of Missouri’s law school libraries.


Case digests (usually multi-volume sets), serve as indexes to case law and provide subject access to court opinions. They are compilations of headnotes extracted from reporters and arranged by subject. Headnotes are brief summaries of key legal points in the case. They are not part of the legal opinion, but are added by editors.

There are several ways in which digests may be used. The headnotes from a case may be used to lead the researcher to other cases indexed under those same headnotes. If there is no case to use as a starting point, detailed subject index volumes, called “descriptive word indexes,” may refer to a relevant topic. In addition, each broad subject area in a digest begins with an outline of its contents that may prove useful if a subject index search fails. Finally, digests include case name index volumes that provide citations to cases where the names of the parties are known.

Digests are published for the U.S. Supreme Court, other federal courts, regional groups of states, and individual states. The American Digest, published by West Group, is the only digest that attempts to provide comprehensive access to both federal and state case law. It consists of the Century Digest (1658-1896), a series of Decennial Digests, and the annual General Digests, which are replaced by Decennial Digest cumulations. Decennial Digests traditionally covered ten-year periods, but recently this has been reduced to five-year periods because of the ever-increasing number of cases.

Sources – Federal Digest

American Law Reports. Thompson West

Although not a Digest, ALR does provide an overview on various issues. This set consists of collections of essays on state and federal issues, with case annotations and select reports of state and federal appellate court opinions. ALR Federal covers exclusively federal topics. ALR comes in 5 editions, covering 1919 – present. Coverage for ALR Federal is from 1969 – present.

United States Supreme Court Digest. West Group.

This set digests only Supreme Court cases using the West Key Number System. It covers the years 1754 to date and is updated with pocket parts annually.

United States Supreme Court Digest, Lawyers’ Edition. LexisNexis.

This digest provides subject access to the opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court only. It is supplemented annually, and also provides a table of cases and a word index.

West’s Federal Practice Digest. West Group.

Federal Practice Digest 4th digests federal cases reported in the Federal Reporter and Federal Supplement from November 1989 to the present. Indexing is based on the West Key Number System, and the set is updated with annual pocket parts and quarterly supplements. Earlier federal cases may be found in the Federal Digest (prior to 1939), Modern Federal Practice Digest (1939-1961), Federal Practice Digest 2d (1961-1975), and Federal Practice Digest 3d (1975­1989).

Sources – Missouri Digests

Missouri Digest 1821-1929. West Publications.

This set provides access to citations and opinions in Missouri Reports and the South Western Reporter, as well as Missouri cases decided in the Supreme Court of the U.S., U. S. Court of Appeals and the Federal Circuit and District Courts. The set includes a table of cases and a subject index.

West’s Missouri Digest 2’d West Group 1930 present. This digest provides a subject approach to Missouri cases from state and local courts. Subjects are arranged according to West’s Key Number System. Separate volumes contain a Descriptive Word Index, Table of Cases, and Defendant-Plaintiff Table. This digest is updated with pocket parts and pamphlets.

Court Rules

Court rules determine the procedure that must be followed when dealing with courts. Federal rules of civil, criminal, and appellate procedure and rules of evidence are published with both the annotated and unannotated federal codes. Several commercially published sources also contain the texts of federal court rules. Missouri rules of court are collected in Missouri Rules of Court: State, Federal & Circuit Courts Rules (West)

Electronic Access

U. S. District Court-Eastern District of Missouri http://www.moed.uscourts.gov Local Rules: General, Civil, and Criminal are available in full text.

U. S. District Court – Western District of Missouri http://www.mow.uscourts.gov

Local Rules are available in full text.

U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov Eighth Circuit rule changes, current Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure – circuit rules of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit may be accessed in full text.

Missouri: www.courts.mo.gov – link to court rules by category.

Fee-Based Electronic Service


Access the full text court rules of each of Missouri’s 45 districts, as well as the federal court rules from the Western District Court and the Eastern District Court of Missouri. Search by keyword, or browse by rule number. This is a licensed resource available to registered users at several of Missouri’s law school libraries.

Jury Instructions

Before a jury begins deliberations, the judge must instruct jury members on the applicable law. As an aid to practicing trial lawyers as well as judges, and to help reduce errors, standardized instructions have been developed to be used in common situations; these are known as model, pattern or approved jury instructions. There is no general set of standardized instructions for the federal courts. However, two sets of commercially published, unofficial instructions are available that cover both civil and criminal cases: Federal Jury Practice and Instructions by Kevin F. O’Malley, Jay E. Grenig, & William C. Lee (West Group) and Modern Federal Jury Instructions, by L.B. Sand et al. (Matthew Bender).

In Missouri, civil jury instructions – Missouri Approved Jury Instructions (MAI) are published by West and criminal jury instructions – Missouri Approved Instructions, Criminal (MAI-CR) are published by the Supreme Court of Missouri.

Electronic Access

Lois Professional Library, Missouri Series.

Search the current Missouri civil and criminal jury instructions by keyword or instruction number. This database is available to users at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Library.

U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov

Pattern Criminal Federal Jury Instructions for the Eighth Circuit are available in full text.



Statutory publications are similar for both federal and state laws. At both levels there are slip laws, session laws, codes and annotated codes. The chart below summarizes federal and Missouri publications.

General Term Federal Missouri
Slip law Slip law (Public law) Slip law (Act)
Session law U. S. Statutes at Large Laws of M0
(chronological order) (chronological order)
Code United States Code Missouri Revised Statutes
(official version) (official version)
Annotated Code U.S. Code Annotated Vernon’s Annotated Missouri Statutes
Statutes U.S. Code Service (YAMS)

When a bill is passed by both houses of Congress or the state legislature and is signed by the chief executive, it becomes a law, or act, on its effective date. If a bill passed in the Missouri Legislature does not specify an effective date, it goes into effect on August 28. A slip law is the text of a single act issued officially in a pamphlet or single sheet. It is generally the first official text of the law to be published and is identified with a chapter or law number.

At the close of each legislative session, slip laws are bound in permanent volumes in chronological order. These volumes are known as session laws. Missouri session laws are published as the Laws of Missouri, and United States session laws are published as the United States Statutes at Large.

Codes are consolidated subject arrangements, or codifications, of laws currently in effect at the time of publication. The official version of Missouri laws is published in a code called the Missouri Revised Statutes. The official federal codification is the United States Code. Both publications are arranged by subject with broad categories called “titles” or “parts.” With each new edition, amendments are incorporated and repealed language is deleted.

The most effective research sources for statutory material are the annotated codes, even though they are unofficial versions of the law produced by commercial publishers. Annotated codes reproduce the official codes’ subject arrangements and text; add new laws, revisions and amendments; and delete repealed laws. Each statutory section in an annotated code is followed by annotations of court decisions and other related information. Each annotation of a court decision consists of 1) an abstract of a point of law decided by the case and 2) the name of the case and its citation. Frequently, these annotations are headnotes selected from reporters on the basis of their applicability to a particular section of the code. Annotated codes are updated with pocket parts and are generally more current than the official unannotated versions of codes.

Local Ordinances

Local laws are called ordinances. They are enacted by the local legislative body and are compiled and distributed by the county, city, village, or town clerk, unless this function has been contracted out to a private firm. The availability and cost of obtaining and maintaining current sets of local laws vary considerably.

Many cities and counties now have their codes and ordinances available online. The Seattle Public Library has collected the URLs of many municipal codes throughout the U. S. It includes several Missouri cities, and can be found on the Internet at www.spl.org . (Click on databases and website, then choose government as the category and municipal codes online.) Municipal codes can also be found at http://www.municode.com.

Much of what seems like local law is actually local government agency policy or procedure. Most agencies have written policy/procedure manuals. The agency’s administrative office will have the official copy. These are public records and should be made available for reading and copying upon request. Availability of copies for sale or distribution will vary. Important policies/procedures may also be found in:

• Proceedings of the local legislative body, e.g. City Council, Town Board, County Board, etc.

• Minutes of board, commission or committee meetings

• Budgets (often contain policy decisions)

• Annual reports and newsletters of the various agencies

• Special reports on particular issues

Many of these documents may now be available over the Internet, and may be located through a general search engine.

Sources – Federal Law

United States Statutes at Large (Stat.). Government Printing Office.

All public and private laws enacted each session by the United States Congress are published in chronological order by date of passage in this official version of U.S. law. Concurrent resolutions and Presidential proclamations are also included. Public law numbers, United States Code title and section numbers, and legislative histories are provided for each law. A subject index and other research aids are included.

United States Code (U.S.C.). Government Printing Office.

The public, general and permanent laws of the United States are compiled by subject into fifty titles in this official edition. The U.S.C. is issued every six years, and cumulative annual supplements are issued between editions. Publication, however, is far from current. A subject index and other research aids are provided, including a popular name table that provides access to laws by the names by which they are known.

United States Code Annotated (U.S. CA.). West Group.

This commercially published edition of the United States Code follows the same titles and numbering system as the official edition but is annotated with court decisions and has other editorial features that enhance its use. Annotations to the Constitution alone comprise several volumes. U.S. C.A. provides cross-references to other legal resources published by West Group and is kept up-to-date with annual pocket parts and interim pamphlets.

United States Code Service (U. S. C. S.). Lawyers Co­operative/Bancroft-Whitney Publishing Co./LexisNexis

U.S. C.S. is also a commercially published annotated edition of the United States Code. It is more selective in its annotations than U.S.C.A. but often provides longer abstracts of cases and explanatory material. U.S.C.S. provides cross-references to the publisher’s other legal resources known as the Total Client-Service Library, including American Jurisprudence, American Law Reports, U.S. Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers’ Edition, U.S. Supreme Court Digest, Lawyers’ Edition, and various practice and specialty materials. It is kept up to date with annual pocket parts and interim pamphlets.

United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (U.S. C. C.A.N.). West Publishing Co.

This serial provides the full text of all public laws, many House and Senate reports, presidential proclamations and executive orders and a selection of administrative rules and regulations. Published in monthly pamphlets with cumulative subject indexes and tables, USCCAN provides timely access to new federal laws created since the latest pocket part of U.S.C.A. and is a convenient first source for legislative histories. The pamphlets are reissued in bound volumes at the end of each session of Congress.

Electronic Access

The United States Code is accessible at the following web sites:

USHouse of Representatives’ U.S. Code http://uscode.house.gov/search/criteria.shtml

Search the full text of the current U.S. Code by keyword. You can limit your search by any or all of the following fields: title, section, subtitle, chapter, subchapter, part, subpart, division, rule, form, and appendix.

The full text of the United States Statutes at Large is available online via LexisNexis Congressional, supra. Titles and citations are searchable dating back to 1789 by citation or keyword.

Cornell University’s U.S. Code http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text

Browse the full text of the current U. S. Code by title and section, retrieve by citation, or keyword search individual titles or the entire code. Also browse the Popular Name table to find common names of legislative acts with links to the corresponding code sections.

GPO Access US. Code http://www.gpo.gov/searchwebapp/browse/collectionUScode.action?collectionCode=USCODE

Browse or keyword search the full-text of the U.S. Code, and keyword search the U.S. Code dating back to 1994. GPO Access is maintained by the Government Printing Office and is considered the official website for federal government information.

Fee-Based Internet Sources

LexisNexis Congressional http://web.lexis-nexis.com/congcomp

This is a licensed resource that is available for use at no cost at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the St. Louis University Omer Poos Law Library. The database contains the full text of the current U.S. Code and numerous Congressional publications. It is searchable by keyword, title or citation.

LoisLaw http://www.loislaw.com

Search the current U.S. Code by statute number/heading or keyword. This is a licensed resource, available at no cost to registered users at University of Missouri – Columbia.

Sources of Missouri Laws

Laws of State of Missouri.

Laws enacted in the Missouri Legislature during each biennial session are referred to as “acts” and are numbered chronologically as they are enacted. At the end of each session, they are published in a hard bound set entitled Laws of Missouri and are known as the Missouri session laws.

Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMO.). Committee on Legislative Research

Missouri Revised Statutes is the official codification of all the laws that are in effect at the end of each legislative session. It is printed at the end of each biennial session of the legislature, and is available in both hard cover and paperback. The statutes are arranged by subject and numbered decimally. The subject index is at the end of the last volume of the set. It is now “supplemental,” updated with pocket parts.

Vernon’s Annotated Missouri Statutes West Publishing Co.

This set contains the statutes of Missouri with additional notes of decisions of the state and federal courts interpreting the laws, the Constitution and court rules of Missouri. It is supplemented by annual pocket parts, pamphlets and Vernon’s Missouri Legislative Service.

Index, House and Senate Bills, and Joint Resolutions.

Jefferson City: Committee on Legislative Research and Office of Administration

This indexes bills by subject, bill number and sponsor for each piece of proposed legislation in the Missouri General Assembly. Each volume covers one session.

Electronic Access

Committee on Legislative Research www.moga.mo.gov/HtmlPages/LegResHomePage.html

Browse the table of contents and index, or search by keyword or citation the full text of the most recent Missouri Revised Statutes

Fee-Based Internet Services at Loislaw www.loislaw.com

Search the Missouri Revised Statutes and Missouri Acts by heading, statute or act number or keyword. This is a licensed resource, available at no cost to users at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Library.


The U.S. Constitution, drafted in 1787, currently includes 27 amendments. The first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights. The Constitution provides authority for all federal legislation and for certain state legislation.

The text of the U.S. Constitution may be found in pamphlets, in standard reference works, in state and federal statutory compilations, and electronically at various web sites. Generally, research is conducted through supplementary aids in addition to the text of the Constitution itself because there is a need to obtain interpretations from judicial decisions and scholarly commentary. These supplementary aids include annotated editions of the Constitution, digests, indexes, citators, and secondary sources such as treatises, textbooks, and journal articles.

Missouri has its own constitution with amendments. All Missouri law stems from the Missouri Constitution, which gives the legislative branch of state government the power to make additional laws.

State as well as federal courts often apply and interpret constitutions. Abstracts of such court decisions appear in the constitution sections of annotated federal and state codes and in Shepard’s statutory citators.

Sources – Federal Constitution

The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation. Government Printing Office.

This is a one-volume work that is revised every ten years. It includes the text of the Constitution, extensive commentary, historical background, legal analysis, and summaries of judicial interpretation of each clause of the Constitution. Major constitutional decisions are discussed in detail. Tables of cases, amendments not ratified, and state and federal acts held unconstitutional are included. An index is also provided.

Shepards Federal Statute Citations. Shepard’s/McGraw Hill.

The statutes volume of Shepards provides citations to federal legislation, treaties, and court decisions that have cited the various provisions of the Constitution.

United States Code Annotated. West Publishing Co.; and United States Code Service. Lawyers Co-operative Bancroft Whitney Publishing Co. LexisNexis.

The U. S.C.A. and the U.S.C.S. provide annotations for court decisions, periodical articles, attorney general opinions, and other publications for each article or amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

United States Government Manual. Office of the Federal Register.

As the official handbook of the Federal Government, the United States Government Manual provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies, international organizations in which the United States participates, and boards, commissions, and committees. The Manual begins with reprints of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The new edition of the Manual is available annually in late summer.

Electronic Access

The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School http://avalon.law.yale.edu/default.asp

Includes the U.S. and state constitutions and more. (click on “subjects” for federal and state constitutions.)

Cornell University’s The Constitution of the United States of America


Contains the text of and amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Findlaws U.S. Constitution

http://constitution.findlaw.com/ Includes the text of the U.S. Constitution and Amendments, as well as annotations that contain scholarly commentary.

Committee on Legislative Research http://www.moga.state.mo.us/Mostatutes/moconstn.html Includes the text and an index to the Missouri Constitution.

Sources – Missouri Constitution

Shepards Missouri Citations. Shepard’s/McGraw Hill

Lists citations to court cases and law review articles citing the Missouri Constitution. For a more thorough explanation of Shepard’s citators, see section IV D.

Vernon’s Annotated Missouri Statutes (West).

The Missouri Constitution is printed in the first two volumes, along with an index. It includes annotations to court cases and law review articles referencing the section. It is also covered in the general index under “Constitution of Missouri.” Missouri Revised Statutes. Joint Committee on Legislative Research.

The Missouri Constitution is reprinted in Missouri Revised Statutes in the last volume. For access to the Missouri Constitution, see http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/statutesAna.html

Bills and Legislative History

A bill, from its introduction to its defeat or passage into law, may go through many steps in Congress or the state legislature. These steps, which may involve committees, government agencies, private citizens, special interest groups, and/or profit or nonprofit organizations, are governed by a variety of processes and procedures. The documents that result from the bill’s journey through each of these steps may become part of the legislative history of the bill. Knowing the legislative history of a bill can be a valuable aid in understanding or interpreting legislative intent. The documents that comprise a legislative history may include:

At the federal level:

1. Bills and amendments

2 Records of legislative hearings

3. Reports of committees

4. Records of legislative debates

5. Other miscellaneous legislative documents

At the state level

1. Bills and amendments

The 8th Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary defines legislative history as “The background and events leading to the enactment of a statute, including hearings, committee reports and floor debates.” Legislative history is sometimes recorded so that it can later be used to aid in interpreting statutes.

Federal legislative history materials are generally found in depository libraries. Congress established the Government Printing Office (GPO) Depository Library Program to provide the public with free access to federal government publications. Regional depositories hold all government documents available through the GPO depository program. The University of Missouri-Columbia is Missouri’s regional depository for federal publications. Numerous other libraries in Missouri are selective depositories of federal government publications.

The official online web site for federal government publications is GPO Access at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/. Additionally, the Thomas site at http://thomas.loc.gov/ maintained by the Library of Congress, contains many Congressional publications helpful in legislative history research.

The United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (U. S. C. CAN). from West Publishing Co. provides the full text of all public laws, many House and Senate reports, presidential proclamations and executive orders and a selection of administrative rules and regulations. It is a convenient first source for legislative histories.

The Law Librarians Society of Washington D.C., provides an excellent guide to federal legislative research at http://www.llsdc.org/sourcebook.

Gathering state legislative history documents in Missouri is trickier than at the federal level. This is because there are fewer official printed legislative documents and publications at the state level. Currently there is no dissemination or systematic printing and preserving of the legislative debates, committee reports and public hearings in Missouri. However, it is possible to look at the different versions of bills as they go through the law making process. Seeing what is deleted and added in the legislative drafting can sometimes assist in determining the intent of the legislature in drafting a particular piece of legislation.

An online guide to the Missouri legislative process is available at http://www.law.missouri.edu/library/

The Missouri State website at http://www.moga.mo.gov/ provides links to the different versions of the bills as they go through the law making process. For any bill that becomes law in Missouri there will be at least three versions printed: 1) Introduced version, 2) Perfected version, and 3) Truly Agreed to and Finally passed version. The range of possible printed versions include:

• House Bill

• House Committee Substitute

• House Substitute • Perfected

• Senate Committee Substitute

• Senate Substitute

• Conference Committee Substitute

• Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed.

The Legislative Library in Jefferson City maintains copies of House and Senate Bills as well as bill status information for current and past sessions of the Missouri General Assembly. The Legislative Library is in the State Capitol Building in Jefferson City (tel. 573-751-4633).

Federal bills and legislative history materials can be found at the following sources:

Thomas http://thomas.loc.gov

Official site of the US Congress that includes various congressional information, including calendars, committee reports, full text and history of bills and acts. Keyword or number search or browse by topic of major legislation.

Congressional Bills from GPO Access http://www.gpo.gov/searchwebapp/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=BILLS

Keyword search all published versions of bills from the 106th (1999-2000), 105th (1997-1998), 104 ‘h (1995-1996) and 103rd (1993-1994). View bills in HTML or PDF. Other federal legislative documents are available from the main GPO Access site.

LexisNexis Congressional http://web.lexis-nexis.com/congcomp/

This is a licensed resource that is available for use at no cost at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Library and the St. Louis University Omer Poos Law Library. It provides access to CIS indexing and abstracting of congressional publications and the CIS Legislative Histories (1970-presentt). Search the full text of bills, testimony from congressional hearings, committee reports, committee prints, House and Senate documents, the Congressional Record and more.


Administrative Regulations and Decisions

Laws often require administrative agencies in the executive branch of government at both the state and federal level to issue detailed regulations on how the laws are to be carried out and enforced. These regulations are often referred to as delegated legislation. The regulations promulgated by the agencies and the decisions made by the agencies have the force and effect of law. Regulations of federal agencies are first published chronologically in the Federal Register and later codified and arranged by subject in the Code of Federal Regulations. The Federal Register also contains other useful information concerning the operation of federal agencies.

Regulations of Missouri state agencies are first published chronologically in The Missouri Register. The Office of Secretary of State publishes the regulations every two weeks. Adopted versions of Missouri state regulations are arranged by subject in the Code of State Regulations, a 14-volume set that includes all rules for each agency.

Sources – Federal Administrative Law

Code of Federal Regulations (C.FR). Government Printing Office.

The CFR codifies the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register. It is arranged by subject under fifty titles similar to those of the United States Code. The information under each title is revised once a year, on a rotating schedule. Changes in the CFR may be traced through the use of “Lists of Sections Affected” (LSA), monthly pamphlets that give references by titles and section numbers to changes published in the Federal Register The monthly LSA is updated by consulting the list of CFR Parts Affected at the beginning of each succeeding daily edition of the Federal Register.

Federal Register (FR). Government Printing Office.

Published each weekday, the Federal Register prints the text of the U. S. administrative agency regulations and rules, proposed rules, orders and notices, and Presidential proclamations having general applicability. The Federal Register has a monthly index that cumulates annually and provides access by subject and agency name.

Electronic Access

GPO Access Code of Federal Regulations http://www.gpo.gov/searchwebapp/browse/collectionCfr.action?collectionCode=CFR

Search the CFR dating back to 1997 by keyword or citation, or browse by title.

GPO Access Federal Register http://www.gpo.gov/searchwebapp/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=FR

Search the full text from 1994-present by keyword, date, and section.

Fee-Based Internet Services

LexisNexis Congressional

This is a licensed resource that is available for use at no cost at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Library and the St. Louis University Omer Poos Law Library. The database contains the full text of federal regulations from the Federal Register (1980 – present) and the Code of Federal Regulations (current). Search by keyword, date and agency. For more information on this database.

Loislaw http://www.loislaw.com

Search the current CFR and the Federal Register dating back to 1999 by section number/heading, section history, or keyword. This is a licensed resource, available at no cost to users at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Library.

Sources – Missouri Administrative Regulations

Missouri Register by the Office of Secretary of State

Published every two weeks, the Missouri Register contains proposed rulemaking, which will not become effective until Missouri citizens have an opportunity to attend a public hearing or submit written comments. All state agencies must, in subsequent editions of the Register, publish a summary of comments and the agency’s changes to the rulemakings, if any.

The State of Missouri, Code of State Regulations (published by the Office of Secretary of State, Administrative Rules Division)Annotated is a 14-volume set that includes all rules for each agency. It is a loose-leaf printed set that is updated monthly. A subject index, as well as a cross-index to the Revised Statutes of Missouri and the corresponding rules, is part of the Code. Both Code and Register are available in printed format or on the Internet.

Adopted rules are codified (arranged by subject) and printed in the Code of State Regulations. These rules become effective 30 days after publication in the Code. Emergency rulemakings, which are only valid for a specified time period are also published in the Register. The Register also contains an index, listing rule numbers with changes pending and a table of emergency rulemakings currently in effect.

Missouri Administrative Hearing Commissions includes agency decisions much like case opinions issued by state courts. These decisions are arranged alphabetically by the name of the administrative board.

Electronic Access

Code of State Regulations Secretary of State, Missouri http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr/csr.asp

Browse the table of contents and index, or search by keyword or citation the full text of the current Missouri Code of State Regulations. The Register is also available from 1999 to the present and is searchable by keyword.

Administrative Hearing Commission, State of Missouri http://oa.mo.gov/ahc

Fee-Based Services Loislaw at www.loislaw.com

Search the Missouri Administrative Code by heading, section history, or keyword. This is a licensed resource, available at no cost to registered users at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Library.

Attorney General Opinions

Attorney general opinions have a significant value on both the federal and state levels. They are often written in response to inquiries from government officials to interpret case law, to provide explanations of statutes, and to give legal counsel. Although not legally binding, these opinions have persuasive authority. At the federal level, the official series for these documents is called Official Opinions of the Attorney General of the United States.

Official Opinions of the Attorneys General of the United States. Government Printing Office.

Each volume in this series may cover a span of several years, and publication is many years behind. Slip opinions provide somewhat more up-to-date coverage. Each volume includes an index-digest to its contents.

Missouri Attorney General Opinions

In Missouri, A.G opinions are bound in Official Opinions: Office of Missouri Attorney General. Missouri A. G opinions are also cited and digested in Vernon s Annotated Missouri Statutes.

Official Opinions: Office of Missouri Attorney General.

These annual bound volumes include tables and indexes. Only published opinions, defined as those with wide application or interest, are included. These are also available online at Westlaw. The University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Library has copies of opinions issued until 2001.

The Missouri Attorney General issues formal opinions to certain government officials on questions of law that relate to their governmental duties. Among the officials authorized to request opinions are state legislators, statewide elected officials, state department heads and county prosecuting attorneys. Attorney General opinions issued since 1997 are available online at http://www.ago.mo.gov

Paper copies of individual opinions issued since 1933 are available by calling 573-751-3321 or by contacting: Opinion Clerk, Missouri Attorney General’s Office, P.O. Box 899, Jefferson City, MO. 65102.

The University of Missouri-Columbia Law Library and various other law libraries across the state have microfilm versions of older opinions.


The development of a world economy and the broad influences of globalization on everyday life have led private citizens, local businesses and government agencies to increasingly require access to information on foreign, international and comparative law. These are three distinct areas of the law, and research in these fields is complicated. Researchers not familiar with this type of research are advised to seek assistance from professionals in the field. For an introduction into these fields, consult the following items:

Martindale-Hubbell Law Digest. Summit, NJ. : Martindale-Hubbell, 2004­

This is an annual publication issued in several volumes. The International LAW Digest volume contains an introduction to foreign legal systems. It contains an English language description of the laws of roughly eighty legal systems (countries) and is a useful introductory tool.

Janis, Mark. W. An Introduction to International Law. (Aspen Publishers, 2003) A clear, concise text that lays the groundwork for the basics of international law.

Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World by Thomas H. Reynolds

Accidental Tourist on the New Frontier An Introductory Guide to Global Legal Research Eds. Jeane Rehberg and Radu D. Popa. Littleton, Colo. : F.B. Rothman, 1998.

An introduction to legal research in civil law and commonwealth countries.

Electronic Access

The following is a selective list of legal research guides in the areas of foreign and international law available on the Internet.

Comparative and Foreign Law Guides http://www.llrx.com/comparative-foreign-law/

Research guides from LLRX for more than twenty jurisdictions.

International Law Guides http://www.llrx.com/international_law.html

Topical guides from LLRX cover numerous subjects such as international criminal law, international commercial arbitration and refugees.

University of Chicago, D’Angelo Law Library: Foreign and International Law


A directory of links to foreign and international law sites from the University of Chicago. Most entries include annotations.

ASIL Electronic Information System for International Law http://www.eisil.org/

Site from the American Society of International Law covers various aspects of legal research in international law, including human rights, environmental law, criminal law, and others. Most links include annotations.

World Legal Systems http://www.droitcivil.uottawa.ca/

Site from the University of Ottawa explains the major legal systems of the world and provides a graphical display of the nations that apply those systems.


Legal Dictionaries

Black’s Law Dictionary. West Group.

Black’s Law Dictionary contains over 24,000 definitions for legal terms. Also includes legal maxims, the U.S. Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a time chart of the U.S. Supreme Court, and other features.

Words and Phrases. West Group.

Words and Phrases is a multi-volume set which organizes legal terms of art as embodied in single terms and phrases in an alphabetical sequence with cross references. The origins of the terms are explained by the publication of holdings statements for cases and the discussion of relevant statutes and regulations. State and Federal sources are cited.

Everybody ‘s Legal Dictionary. Nolo Press. http://www.nolo.com/lawcenter/dictionary/wordindex.cfm. Plain-English definitions for over a thousand legal terms. Entries can be searched or browsed alphabetically.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law http://dictionary.lp.findlaw.com

Keyword search for legal definitions.

Legal Directories

BNA’s Directory of State and Federal Courts, Judges, and Clerks. Washington, D.C. : BNA Books, 1986

This biennial publication provides access to vital details about federal and state courts, including addresses, phone numbers, internet sites, etc. In the 2005 edition, 2,113 state courts, 214 federal courts, 14,708 judges and 5,311 clerks were listed for U.S. states and territories.

The Federal Judiciary, Administrative Office of U.S. Courts http://www.uscourts.govc

Provides access to the web sites of United States courts.

Federal Regulatory Directory. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1979/1980

Issued every two years, this publication contains detailed information about more than 100 federal regulatory agencies with contact information, descriptions of functions and regulatory powers. The book opens with an introduction to federal regulation. The functions of twelve of the largest agencies are covered in depth.

Lawyer Locator http://www.martindale.com/

A free online search engine from Martindale-Hubbell that provides basic profiles for attorneys across the United States.

Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. Summit, N.J. Martindale-Hubbell, Inc. 1932.

This multi-volume set contains a mass of data on lawyers in the U.S. and 159 other countries. Basic profiles are available for the large majority of attorneys in the U.S., and detailed professional biographies can be found for many leading lawyers and law firms. Also, over 4,000 legal services and legal suppliers such as court reporters, private investigators, etc. are listed, and summaries of laws in various jurisdictions are provided.

United States Court Directory. Washington D.C., The Administrative Office of the United States Courts [Government Printing Office, distributor]. 1979 –

This annual publication lists addresses, telephone and fax numbers, online access information and names of judges for the federal courts.

United States Government Manual. Office of the Federal Register.

This annual publication provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial and executive branches. A typical entry includes a list of principal officials, a summary statement of the agency’s purpose and role in the Federal Government, a brief history of the agency and a description of its programs and activities. A copy of the US. Constitution is included in the beginning of each edition.

Also available at no cost, online at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=GOVMAN

Want’s Federal-State Court Directory. Want Publishing Co.

Another annual directory of federal and state courts and court officials with addresses, phone numbers and web sites.

State of Missouri, Blue Book. Secretary of State, Missouri.

Annual publication that contains the biographies and photos of Missouri’s elected public officials, a detailed description of the organization and functions of the state government, and statistical information about Missouri. The most recent editions of the Blue Book can also be found online at http://www.sos.mo.gov/BlueBook/default.aspx

Missouri Legal Directory Legal Directories Publishing Company, Inc..

This annual publication contains contact information for more than 28,000 Missouri-licensed lawyers. Includes contact information, an alphabetical roster of Missouri law firms, listings of attorneys by county and city, and a listing of federal and state courts within Missouri.

The Missouri Bar Directory

All Missouri attorneys are listed alphabetically as well as by the county in which they practice. Attorney and Firm Directory Search http://www.legaldirectories.com

A free online service from Legal Directories Publishing Company, Inc that allows users to retrieve basic contact information for attorneys and law firms in numerous states, including Missouri.

Legal Encyclopedias

Legal encyclopedias summarize broad principles ofAmerican law, covering a wide range of legal topics. They provide a gateway to background information on legal topics, and present convenient starting points for researchers who begin with a basic understanding of an area of law. Encyclopedias are arranged alphabetically by topic.

American Jurisprudence Second (also referred to as Am Jur 2d). Lawyers’ Cooperative; Corpus Juris Secundum (also referred to as CJS). West Group.

These two multi-volume encyclopedias cover all legal topics in alphabetical order and cite to important cases related to the topics. Both sets included detailed indexes and are updated with pocket parts. CJS is perhaps more technical and legalistic than Am Jur 2d., and therefore less helpful to the non-lawyer.

The Guide to American Law. Everyone’s Legal Encyclopedia. West Publishing Co.

A multi-volume encyclopedia written for the non-lawyer. Contains articles on legal concepts, legal organizations, government agencies, and prominent people in the law.

Legal Encyclopedia. Nolo Press. http://www.nolo.com

A web-based encyclopedia with plain-English entries on legal topics ranging from bankruptcy to wills.

Legal Citators

A citator is a legal research tool that allows you to find out what happened to a case, statute or regulation after publication. Earlier case decisions, for example, may have been overruled, reversed, criticized, questioned or distinguished. Statutes may have been repealed, amended, superseded or interpreted.

Legal Forms


The following is a selective listing of books that offer sample and model forms.

American Jurisprudence Legal Forms, 2nd ed. Lawyers Co-operative/Bancroft-Whitney Publishing Co. Practice-oriented forms for legal and business transactions. Annotated and keyed to the substantive law, integrating legal and form-drafting principles with statutes, tax notes, tables, checklists, and checkpoints. Updated by pocket parts and revised volumes.

Current Legal Forms, With Tax Analysis. Matthew Bender Publishing Co.

Forms in areas as such as partnerships, patents, copyrights and trademarks, business franchises, computer agreements, commercial transactions, estate plans and trusts, employment and compensation, corporations, and real estate.

Nichols Cyclopedia of Legal Forms Annotated. West Group

Legal forms for over two hundred and fifty types of personal and business transactions from mortgages and wills to trademark protection. Drafting checklists, tax checklists, and tax notes are provided for each form.

West’s Legal Forms, 3’d ed. West Publishing Co.

This multi-volume set contains model forms that can be copied or adapted for local use.

The Guide to American Law: Everyone’s Legal Encyclopedia. West Publishing Co.

The appendix includes sample legal forms. For more information on this publication, see section V C., “Legal Encyclopedias,” su pra.


Civil Procedure Forms. West Group. (Legal Forms 3d (Vols. 6, 6A, 7, and & A Missouri Practice Series) Also, legal forms; statutory formsThe Missouri Bar Continuing Legal Education Series. The Missouri Bar. Sample or model forms are frequently included in this series of practical loose-leaf volumes on various aspects of Missouri law. Of particular interest are forms on change of name, landlord/tenant and dissolution.

Legal Periodical Indexes

Electronic Resources 1. LegalTrac. Galegroup.

LegalTrac provides citations to articles published in 875 legal periodicals since 1980, including major law reviews, legal newspapers, bar association journals and international legal journals. LegalTrac is available to in-library users at the state’s four law school libraries. The print version of LegalTrac is Current Law Index.

Index to Legal Periodicals and Books. H.W. Wilson.

Indexes 819 leading journals, yearbooks, law reviews etc. from 1981 to date. In addition, about 1,000 monographs are indexed per year dating back to 1993. Index to Legal Periodicals and Books is available at Missouri’s four law schools with links to full-text online articles for most journals. The index is also available in print under the title Index to Legal Periodicals from 1908-1993, and from 1994 to the present, under the title Index to Legal Periodicals and Books.

Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals

American Association of Law Libraries

Indexes over 500 legal periodicals that cover international law, comparative and foreign law of all jurisdictions other than the United States, the UK, Canada and Australia. Covers the period from 1985 to date.

Legal Research Text and Manuals

What follows is a selective list of recently published legal research texts. These titles identify, describe and explain how to use resources for legal research.

General Legal Research

Bening, Robert C. and Elizabeth A. Edinger. Finding the Law . An Abridged Edition of How to Find the Law 11th Ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group, 1999.

The authors concentrate on the basic elements of legal research.

Cohen, Morris L. and Kent Olson. Legal Research in a Nutshell. 8th Ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group, 2003. A new edition of this concise, paperback research guide to legal research is published every few years.

Doyle, Francis R., et al. Searching the Law. 4th Ed. Ardsley, N.Y: Transnational Publishers, 2003.

A thorough legal research guide that simplifies and streamlines the search for legal materials. Useful for both laypersons and professionals.

Elias, Stephen R. and Susan Levinkind. Legal Research: How to Find & Understand the Law. 12th Ed. Nolo.com, c2004.

A plain-English explanation of the legal research process. Easy to use and valuable for both novice and experienced legal researchers.

Jacobstein, J. Myron, Roy M. Mersky and Donald J. Dunn. Fundamentals of Legal Research 8′ Ed. J. Myron Jacobstein, Roy M. Mersky, Donald J. Dunn. New York, N.Y: Foundation Press, 2002.

A comprehensive legal research tome. New editions are published every four to five years.

Kunz, Christina L., et al. The Process of Legal Research. St’ Ed. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Law & Business, c2000. Focuses on the integration of both print and electronic resources in conducting effective legal research.

Sloan, Amy E. Basic Legal Research. Tools and Strategies. 2nd Ed. Gaithersburg, Md : Aspen Law and Business, 2003.

A concise & accessible book that concentrates on essential legal research skills.

Statsky, William E Legal Research and Writing: Some Starting Points, 5th Ed. Albany: West Legal Studies, 1999.

Statsky offers a basic introduction to legal research and writing.


LexisNexis, http://www.lexis.com and Westlaw, http://www.westlaw.com are the two major commercial electronic legal research services. Both systems provide extensive coverage of U.S. primary and secondary legal materials. These databases can be powerful tools for quickly and conveniently searching large masses of data; but they can also prove prohibitively expensive if used in certain research scenarios or without experience. Both major services now allow limited access by credit card. Users can employ this access to retrieve documents online. In addition, LexisNexis has begun to offer its LexisOne service, http://www.lexisone.com for free. LexisOne allows free retrieval and basic searches for federal and state cases decided after January Is, t1997. The University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Library in January 2005 started offering “Westpac” Westlaw for the public at their public access terminals.

In this guide, we have attempted to include the most prominent electronic sources that can be accessed freely over the web, or that are available to patrons at no cost at one of the major Missouri law libraries.


When legal writers make assertions about the law, or quote or paraphrase published sources, they must support each statement with a reference to the original material. This legal citation or cite may be to a particular court opinion, a statute, an administrative opinion, a regulation, or a secondary authority such as a treatise or a law review article. The purpose of a legal citation is the same as the purpose of a footnote in other types of writing.

As a general rule, each citation will answer an established set of questions: What? Where? When? And Who? The citation will reveal what is cited, where the reader can go to find that information, when that information came into existence, and perhaps who wrote or who was responsible for the information.

Citations to court decisions generally begin with the name of the case, which is usually in the form of PLAINTIFF V DEFENDANT, for example SMITH V JONES. The first number to appear will be a reference to a volume number. Following the first number is an abbreviation for a court reporter. Lists of these abbreviations and the titles for which they stand are included as appendices in many legal research texts. A good reference for abbreviations is Bieber’s Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations (see the list of print sources below). Following the reporter abbreviation a series number may appear, such as 2d. Many reporters are numbered up to a certain point, then begin again with volume one of a second series. Following the series number, if there is one, will be a number indicating the page on which the decision begins. A second page number may indicate a specific page reference within a particular case. Many citations will also include a parallel cite, which leads to the same case in a different set of reporters. Finally, the citation may end with the date of the decision enclosed in parentheses.

An illustration of various case citations is given below.

Prior to 1956: Ivie v. Bailey, 5 S.W. 2″d50, 319 Mo 474 (1928)

After 1956: S.W. 2d, S.W. 3d became official reporter for Missouri (1954 for Mo. App.)

AALL Universal Citation Guide, American Association of Law Libraries, http://www.aallnet.org

For a thorough citation primer, see also Introduction to Basic Legal Citation (2000-2001 ed.), Peter W Martin,http://www.law.cornell.edu/citation/.

Consult the following print sources for answers to legal citation questions:

Bieber’s Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations: a Reference Guide for Attorneys, Legal Secretaries, Paralegals, and Law Students (5th Ed). Buffalo, N.Y: W .S. Hein, 2001.

Sample entry: Wis. L. Rev. Wisconsin Law Review

Bieber’s Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations Reversed. A Dictionary of Terms and Titles with Their Abbreviations. Buffalo, N.Y: W .S. Hein, 1994.

Sample entry: Missouri Law Review Mo. L. Rev.

Prince’s Bieber Dictionary of Legal Citations: A Reference Guide forAttorneys, Legal Secretaries, Paralegals, and Law Students, 6th Ed. Buffalo, N.Y: W .S. Hein, 2001.

Sample entry: Missouri Law Review Ab: Mo. L. Rev.

Ex.: Greve, Michael, Compacts, Cartels and Congressional Consent, 68 Mo L. Rev. 285

The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. 18th Ed. Cambridge: Harvard Law Review Association, 1991­This definitive guide to American citation of legal authorities includes several useful features that make it easier to use. The detailed index at the back of the book contains a thorough listing of topics and sources that refer the user to specific pages. The tables near the back of the book list the sources for the cases, statutes, and administrative law of every state in the United States and of the federal government. Basic principles of legal citation are explained in an introductory section, and there is a practitioner’s section on general standards of citation and style to be used in legal composition. The Bluebook is preferred by most courts and judges in Missouri.

The ALWD Citation Manual A Professional System of Citation. 2nd Ed. Association of Legal Writing Directors. Gaithersburg [Md.] : Aspen Law and Business, c2003.

A guide to legal citation created by the Association of Legal Writing Directors in response to charges that The Bluebook (see above) is too difficult to understand and follow. The Al-WD manual offers a simple, logical approach to legal citation.


Because the law is ever-changing there is a need for constant revision of legal materials. Attorneys and judges need the latest information on a given subject, the latest court decisions, or the most up-to-date legislation as well as older materials. The various publishers of legal resources have devised several ways of maintaining their publications.

Loose-leaf materials are issued most frequently, sometimes weekly or biweekly, or sometimes quarterly or as the publisher sees fit. Pocket parts are generally issued annually and are slipped into a pocket in the back of the volume. Paperbound pamphlets are also sometimes issued for supplementation.

Loose-leafs, pocket parts and other kinds of supplements help to make the initial publication as current as possible. All of these materials must be filed in a timely manner or the publisher’s efforts will be wasted. Updates are generally numbered and include filing instructions. Filing order and instructions must be followed carefully to avoid problems with future filings. If there is a problem, call the publisher to obtain instructions on how to properly update the materials or acquire replacement materials. Libraries considering a subscription should bear in mind that the supplementation of a publication will often cost as much or more than the original work.

With the advent of electronic publishing, many libraries now have the option to subscribe to services in electronic format and forego their print subscriptions. Electronic services are automatically updated by the publisher and do not require intervention by library staff. They also offer benefits in terms of speed, currency and, in many cases, cost. The question of which format (e.g., print, online, CD-ROM, microform, etc.) to purchase involves the consideration of space limitations, ease of access, cost and other factors.

Public libraries that are building and or maintaining a legal collection may wish to consult the following sources: Svengalis, Kendall. The Legal Information Buyers Guide and Reference Manual. Barrington, R.I. : Rhode Island LawPress, 6996.

Contains more information than will be needed by most public libraries, but still an excellent resource for description and analysis of legal information sources.

Also see Public Library Collection Guidelines For A Legal Research Collection (American Association of Law Libraries) at https://www.aallnet.org/lispsis/resources-publications/public-library-toolkit/collections/.


Legal research can be difficult and time-consuming. In addition, librarians must be aware of the gray area that divides reference assistance from the unauthorized practice of law. When helping library users with legal research questions, librarians may need to inform the patron that the librarian cannot make judgments on the relevance of facts, nor provide explanation, interpretation or analysis of the legal research results. To do so would be to engage in the unauthorized practice of law, which is illegal.

This does not mean, however, that a librarian cannot provide the usual level of assistance to a patron simply because the patron’s question is of a legal nature. Here are some suggestions for working with the “pro se” library user:

• Demonstrate how to use the legal tools with general topically-relevant examples, rather than asking for the specific facts of the patron’s personal situation to conduct the search.

• Include self-help books on legal topics in your library collection.

• Draw up a written policy statement on the provision of legal reference services.

• Always feel free to contact a law librarian for assistance with your legal research questions.

• When appropriate, encourage users to seek professional advice from an attorney.

• Keep a file of local legal services organizations for those who cannot afford the expense of retaining a lawyer.

Appendix B


Act – An enacted (passed) piece of legislation; may also be referred to as a law or slip law.

Advance Sheet – Paperback volume of a case reporter that preceded publication of the bound volume and has the same volume and page numbers as the bound volume will have. Usually contains a list of cases reported, index of topics, table of unpublished opinions, and table of citations to laws, acts, and statutes.

Annotated Code – Subject arrangement of a jurisdiction’s public, general laws currently in force, including for each section of each law abstracts of cases interpreting the language of the sections, legislative history, cross references to other code sections, references to law review articles, and cross references to pertinent material in other legal resources.

Annotation – 1) Additional explanation or abstract of a statute. May include legislative history, relevant decisions, and journal references. 2) Essay on a legal topic, generally footnoted with references to cases.

Appellant – Party who initiates an appeal from one court to another.

Bill – Proposed piece of legislation.

Brief – Written argument presented to the court by different parties.

Case – Action or suit contested in court.

Citation or Cite – Written legal reference identifying a particular document (decision, statute, etc.).

Citator – A publication that compiles cases, statutes and other sources of law, showing citations to later sources of law that may affect the authority, validity or meaning of a previous case or statute.

Cite – See Citation.

Code – Subject compilation of a jurisdiction’s public, general laws or administrative rules currently in force.

Codify – To collect and systematically arrange systematically laws, rules or regulations. Court of last resort – A court from which there is no appeal.

Court of record – A court whose acts and judicial proceedings are reported and which has the power to fine or imprison for contempt.

Court Reporter – 1) Publication containing published court decisions; 2) Individual who records court proceedings.

Decision – Used as a synonym for opinion. Technically, the decision of a court is its judgment while the opinion is the reason given for that judgment, or the expression of the views of the judge.

Defendant – Party against which action is brought in court.

Delegated legislation – Administrative rules and regulations.

Digest – Volume or volumes that provide topical access to reporters.

Docket – Court calendar.

Headnote – Summary of a point of law in a court decision.

Key Number – Number assigned to a headnote in the West National Reporter System.

Law Review – Journal edited by law students and published by a law school.

LexisNexis – Online legal database supported by LexisNexis Group that contains the full text of primary and secondary legal resources. LexisNexis Group is the global legal publishing arm of Reed Elsevier, an Anglo-Dutch company.

Loose-leaf service – Commercially produced topical publication that provides current information through the use of loose pages that are issued frequently and interfiled in a binder. Outdated pages are discarded, according to the publisher’s instructions.

National Reporter System – West Publishing Company’s system of regional and state reporters.

Nutshell – West Group’s series of concise treatises on a wide range of legal topics. There are more than 115 titles in the Nutshell Series

Official Reporter – Reporter selected by a particular jurisdiction to publish its court opinions.

Opinion – Used as a synonym for decision. Technically, a decision of the court is its judgment; the opinion is the reasons given for that judgment, or the expression of the views of the judge.

Ordinances – Local laws.

Original jurisdiction – Jurisdiction of a court to assert authority over a case at the outset, to try it, and to decide the issues.

Parallel cites or Parallel citations – Citations to the same opinion in two or more different reporters.

Plaintiff – Party in a court case bringing the action to court.

Pocket Part – Supplement that slips into a pocket in the back of a published volume to update information in that volume.

Precedent – A court decision that provides an example or authority for a similar case that later confronts a similar question of law.

Primary legal sources – Texts of laws, constitutions, court decisions, administrative agency regulations and rulings, executive orders, treaties, and other first-hand accounts of the law.

Pro se – Representing oneself in court without an appearance by a lawyer.

Published decision/opinion – Court decision that is published in a reporter.

Respondent – Party who responds to an appeal brought by another party.

Secondary legal resources – Treatises, legal encyclopedias, law review articles, reports of commissions and associations, etc. Sources that describe, explain, analyze, criticize, or suggest changes in the law.

Session laws – Slip laws arranged in chronological order and published in permanent bound volumes.

Shepard’s – A major legal citator. See also citator.

Shepardize – Using Shepard’s Citations as a citator to determine the current status of a particular law. See also citator.

Slip law – Text of a single act issued officially in a pamphlet or single sheet.

Slip opinion – Text of a single court decision officially issued in a pamphlet prior to publication in a permanent volume.

Stare decisis – Legal doctrine that requires courts to stand by precedent.

Syllabus – A note prefixed to a court opinion, containing a brief statement of the rulings of the court upon the point or points decided in the vase.

Synopsis – Brief summary of the facts of a case.

Statute – Law passed by a state legislature or Congress.

Treatise – A secondary source in the form of a narrative text that provides an in-depth analysis of a legal subject.

Unpublished decision/ opinion – Court decision not published in a standard reporter. Many of these are available on LexisNexis and Westlaw.

Westlaw – Online legal database developed by West Group that contains primary and secondary legal resources, as well as editorial enhancements found in the National Reporter System.

Missouri Legal Research

Appendix C

Major Missouri Law Libraries

Supreme Court of Missouri Law Library

207 West High Street

Second Floor

Jefferson City, Missouri 65101 (573) 751-2636 (phone)

The Supreme Court Library contains more than 110,000 volumes, including decisions of state and federal courts as well as state and federal administrative agencies; Missouri Approved Jury Instructions; state and federal statutes; legal periodicals and treatises. The library is a selective government depository. The library offers reference services for members of the bench and legislature. The Library is also open to the public.

The Supreme Court Library staff is available to assist the public in locating documents from specific citations to law-related materials. The Library staff is not authorized to perform legal research in response to legal questions from the public.

University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Library 226 Hulston Hall

Columbia, MO. 65211-4190 Tel. 573-884-6362 www.law.missouri.edu/library. Features a “contact us” link.

University of Missouri-Kansas City Leon E. Bloch Law Library 5100 Rockhill Road

Kansas City, Mo. 64110-2499 Tel. 816-235-1650 https://law.umkc.edu/library/

St. Louis University Omer Poos Law Library 3 700 Lindell Blvd.

St. Louis, MO 63108 Tel. 314-977-2766 http://law.slu.edu/library

Washington University School of Law Library Campus Box 1171

One Brookings Drive

St. Louis, MO 63130-4899 Tel. 314-935-6450


Appendix D


Baish, Mary Alice and Kirk, Darcy, “Barriers to Broad Public Access of Court Opinions and Creative Consortial Projects of Law Librarians to Democratize Access through the Internet.” 23 Collection Management 105-88 (1998)

Bonge, Barbara, “Public Access to Legal Information.” 78 Michigan Barjournal 1130 (1999)

Browne, Kelly, “Does the Law Governing Public Access to Judicial Opinions Mandate Citation Reform?: It Depends.” 17 Legal Reference Services Quarterly 75-144 (1999)

Coyle, Marcia, “Electronic Filing Issues: Public Access vs. Privacy.” 23 National Law Journal 54-55 (Sept. 3, 2001)

Gauthier, Ashley, “Proposed Policy on Court Records Threatens Public Access Rights.” 26 News Media & the Lazy 8(2002)

Hane, Paula J. “Wider Access to U.S. Court Records Database Stirs Up Controversy.” 18 Information Today 13 (2001)

Leibowitz, Wendy, “Web Access to Courts.” 21 National Law Journal A20 (Oct. 5 1998)

Leibowitz, Wendy, “Who Owns the Law? And Why Won’t they Publish it on the Internet? Let’s Have Free and Public Access.” 27 Law Practice Management 10 (2001)

Luo, Wei, et al, “Government Documents Around the World: Access Policies and Strategies of Disclosure.” 7 4ALL Spectrum 14 (2002)

McCanless, Alice M., “Public Access to Legal Resources on the Internet.” 49 Southeastern Librarian 11-14 (2001)

MacDonald, D. “The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments: A Minor Upgrade to Public Access Law.” 23 Kutgers Computer & Technology Lazy Journal 357-89 (1997)

Southern California Association of Law Libraries. Committee on Public Access to Legal Information. Locating the Law: a Handbook for Non-law Librarians. 41′ ed. Los Angeles, Cal.: The Committee, 2001.

Wentz, Julia, “Justice Requires Access to the Law,” 3 LOYOLA UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW JOURNIAI, G41 (2005)

Westwood, Karen, “`Meaningful Access to the Courts and Law Libraries’: Where are we Now?” 90 Law Library Journal 193-207 (1998)

Appendix E

Missouri Court of Appeals Districts

Appendix F

Missouri‘s 45 Judicial Circuits

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