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Briefs and Oral Arguments

Briefs  

Where can I find briefs before a decision is issued by the appellate courts? 

  • Minnesota Appellate Courts Case Management System (MACS):When briefs are filed with the Clerk of Appellate Courts for cases under review by the Minnesota Supreme Court or Court of Appeals they are made available in the "Courthouse View" of Minnesota Appellate Courts Case Management System. The system is accessible from public access computer terminals in the Minnesota State Law Library or at any Minnesota district (county) courthouse.  The public version of this system, P-MACS, provides access to many other required documents for a case, but does not include briefs. 
  • Request via email: Documents that are not currently available on P-MACS may be requested via email: Appellate Case Records Email Request Instructions. 
  • General questions about accessing briefs may be directed to the Minnesota State Law Library via our Ask A Librarian form or by calling 651-297-7651. 

Where can I find briefs after a decision is issued by the courts? 

  • Minnesota State Law Library Online Archive: 
    • Appellate briefs filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court in civil and criminal cases that resulted in an opinion.
    • Appellate briefs filed with the Minnesota Court of Appeals in civil cases that resulted in a published opinion. (Briefs for criminal cases that resulted in published opinions are not yet available via the online archive.)  
    • Coverage begins with volume 705 of the Northwestern Reporter 2d (2005). 
  • Minnesota Appellate Courts Case Management System (MACS): Briefs from published Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court cases may be viewed online using a public access computer terminal in the Minnesota State Law Library or  at any Minnesota district (county) courthouse
  • Request via email: Documents that are not currently available on P-MACS may be requested via email: Appellate Case Records Email Request Instructions. 
  • General questions about accessing briefs may be directed to the Minnesota State Law Library via our Ask A Librarian form or by calling 651-297-7651. 
  • Briefs in print:
    • Prints of briefs for published opinions of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are available at the Minnesota State Law Library. Since 1977 (vol. 253 N.W.2d), briefs have been bound by the North Western Reporter citation of the case. Cases from 1917 to 1977 are bound according to their Minnesota Reports citation. Briefs from 1864 to 1916 are arranged by date.
    • Bound briefs, from volume 300 North Western Reporter, second series (300 N.W. 2d) onward, may be checked out for a three-week period. A deposit may be required. Check with a Public Services librarian for more information. 
    • Beginning with volume 300 of North Western Reporter, second series (300 N.W. 2d), the Minnesota State Law Library has also produced microfiche copies of briefs arranged by the N.W.2d citation. Copies of the microfiche collection can be found at academic law libraries in the Twin Cities and many county law libraries. The larger academic law libraries may also have older briefs in hard copy.
    • Briefs for unpublished cases are kept by the Clerk's office in an off-site storage facility. If you need to access a brief for an unpublished case you may do so by calling (651) 296-2581 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by using the Clerk's office email request form. The process may take up to two weeks. 

Can briefs be searched by topic? 

Yes; you may search for briefs by keyword in our online archive. Contents begin with volume 705 N.W.2d (2005.) 

Where can I find examples of Informal Briefs?

We are often asked for examples of informal briefs. Tips for preparing informal briefs and samples can be found in our Appeals Resource guide. A caveat about informal briefs: Informal briefs are almost always submitted by non-attorneys and vary greatly in the level of skill and care with which they have been prepared. There is no one right way to format an informal brief. See Rule 128 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure for the rules for formatting briefs.  Informal briefs are searchable from the Minnesota State Law Library's opinion and brief archive. To find examples of informal briefs, use the search term: informal as part of your search.

Oral Arguments

Where can I find Oral Arguments?

The Minnesota Judicial Branch maintains a searchable, online database of archived Supreme Court oral arguments.  The database contains videos of oral arguments from September 2005 to the present. 

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