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Law Library News for April 26, 1999

Linda Kawaguchi, editor

Law Library News Archive


Specialized Courts & Court Reporters

by Matthew Wright, Law Librarianship Intern

Most legal researchers are familiar with the Pacific Reporter, the Federal Reporter, and the other major reporters that comprise the National Reporter System and with official reports put out by the government such as United States Reports and the Washington Reports. Most legal researchers are also easily recognize a Bluebook citation to such a reporter. However, many experienced legal researchers are often unclear about the content and purpose of a reporter such as the Federal Claims Reporter. What follows is a review of the major specialized reporters, their content and scope, and examples of Bluebook citations.

Federal Rules Decisions (Bluebook: 181 F.R.D. 365 (1998)). Federal Rules Decisions contains decisions of the federal district courts that are not in the Federal Supplement that interpret the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (since 1939) and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (since 1946). Many people only use this reporter to find cases. However, it also includes articles on aspects of federal courts and procedure. A cumulative index to these articles is in every tenth volume and there is a cumulative index to volumes 1-122 in volume 122.

Military Justice Reporter (Bluebook: 50 M.J. 4 (1998)). This set began in 1975 and is the successor to the old U.S. Court of Military Appeals Decisions (Bluebook: 1 C.M.A. 100) and the Court Martial Reports (1 C.M.R. 100) (both of which are defunct). It reports cases of the United States Court of Military Appeals, Courts of Military Review of the Navy-Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

West's Veterans Appeals Reporter (Bluebook: 11 Vet. App. 45 (1998)). This set began in 1991 and reports the decisions of the United States Court of Veterans Appeals, an appellate court that was created by statute in 1988. It also reports cases of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court which hear appeals from the Court of Veterans Appeals.

Federal Claims Reporter (Bluebook: 40 Fed. Cl. 93 (1998)). This reporter publishes the decisions of the United States Court of Federal Claims, a trial level federal court that handles specialized federal cases against the United States government (such as government contracts). Though the name of the court and the reporter have changed several times, this court was established in 1855. Prior to 1992, this court was called the United States Claims Court, and the reporter was called the United States Claims Court Reporter (Bluebook: 1 Cl. Ct. 100). Before 1982 the decisions were published by the U. S. government. That reporter was called Cases Decided in the U.S. Court of Claims (Bluebook: 1 Ct. Cl. 100). It also includes cases from the Federal Reporter and West's Supreme Court Reporter that were appealed from the Court of Federal Claims.

Bankruptcy Reporter (Bluebook: 226 B.R. 8 (1998)). The Bankruptcy Reporter prints cases of the United States Bankruptcy Courts (trial level) and other federal district court cases on bankruptcy matters. (Those cases are no longer published in the Federal Supplement). The set began in 1980.

United States Court of International Trade Reports (Bluebook: 19 Ct. Int'l. Trade 87 (1995)). This in an official report produced by the Government Printing Office. The reporter dates from 1980 but is a continuation of the formerly titled United States Custom Court Reports (Bluebook: 1 Cust. Ct. 100). Both of these reporters print cases of the United States Customs Court.

Reports of the United States Tax Court (Bluebook: 110 USTC 12 (1998)). This is also an official reporter; it has existed since 1942 and publishes the opinions of the Tax Court.

There are numerous commercial vendors that publish tax cases. Example include:

American Federal Tax Reports, 2d. This is now published by Research Institute of America (RIA). (Bluebook: 81 AFTR 2d. 98-303 (1998)). This publication has existed since 1924.

Tax Court Memorandum Decisions. There are two commercial versions with this title, one published by Research Institute of American (RIA) and the other by Commercial Clearing House (CCH). Bluebook: 1998 T.C.M. (RIA) par. 98,232 75 T.C.M. (CCH) 1714 (1998)

There are numerous other specialized courts and reporters especially in the administrative area.

This is only meant to be a sampling of a few of the more common reporters.