The NC Courts Website as a Research Tool

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When the North Carolina court system launched its new website, it streamlined the design and made information about the courts easier to find. The new website includes information targeting public users, but it also includes features that make it an excellent research tool.

Informational Features provides direct access to information about court locations, court dates, operating hours and holidays, and services, including easy-to-use online payment systems. The “Going to Court” section is particularly helpful for those new to the court system. It includes information on jury service, finding court dates, and what to do in the case of inclement weather or accidentally missing a court date. It also links to sections specifically for those with traffic citations or landlord/tenant issues.

The court’s news page includes information about court appointments, holidays, major legal and judicial anniversaries, and other stories of interest to the bar and the public. A media page provides helpful information for anyone who wants to report on court activities, including schedules, locations, employee contacts, and court locations.

Research Tools

The court’s website is a particularly good tool for anyone researching North Carolina law. The website provides access to multiple court calendars with quickly updated information about holidays, weather-related closings, and rescheduled dates.

Forms & Court Rules

The new website provides easy access to over a thousand NC court forms. The database can be searched using keywords, forms numbers, related statutes, or by subject. NC Courts also provides access to local court rules and forms for specific courts, which can be searched by keyword, type of court, or county.

Court Decisions

The court provides pdf copies of nearly 30,000 North Carolina appellate court decisions. That database is searchable by keyword, author, and filing date. Results can also be filtered by court (Supreme Court of Court of Appeals), opinion type (published or unpublished), and/or format (individual pdf or group of pdfs). The website also provides opinions by the Business Courts

Court Filings

The website links to North Carolina’s eFiling and Document Library site, with detailed instructions on filing cases. Researchers are also able to search appellate cases' dockets for filings related to those cases. Researchers can search cases by attorney name, date, case number, case title, court, and type of filing. Dockets for cases may provide complaints, answers, motions, briefs, or other paperwork associated with a case. Selected filings may be available for cases as far back as 1998, when eFiling began in the North Carolina appellate courts.

Other Topics

The new website also provides information on several common NC legal topics that may be helpful to a legal researcher. These topics include instructions on running a criminal background check, information on how to find a mediator, contact information for employees of the judicial branch, pro bono resources, and access services for those who do not speak English as a first language. Attorneys can also sign up for automated notifications about court dates and rule amendments.

Posted by Ellie Campbell on Mon. October 14, 2019 2:00 PM
Categories: Uncategorized

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