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Briefs and Oral Arguments


Minnesota State Law Library Brief Archive (2002 - Present): Briefs for cases argued before the Minnesota Supreme Court are loaded into the Minnesota State Law Library Brief Archive on a weekly basis. Briefs for cases argued before the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which result in a published opinion, are loaded into the archive after an opinion is issued. Briefs for cases in which the opinion is designated as "unpublished" are not typically added to the archive. Coverage begins with volume 651 of the Northwestern Reporter 2d (2002). Briefs may be accessed by case number or via a topic search.
  • On-demand additions to the archive: Upon request, the Minnesota State Law Library will add briefs to the archive unless we are prevented from doing so by applicable court rules or the brief is not available to us. Requests may be submitted via the Ask A Librarian form or by calling 651-297-7651.  
Minnesota Appellate Courts Case Management System (2015- Present): 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 (MACS). The system is accessible from public access computer terminals in the Minnesota State Law Library or at any Minnesota district (county) courthouse.  The cost to print is $8 per document. Briefs cannot be emailed or downloaded from courthouse terminals. 
  • The public version of this system, P-MACS, provides access to many other required documents for a case, but does not include briefs. 
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
  • Bound volumes 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 that are not uploaded in MACS are available by request from the Clerk's office. If you need to access a brief for an unpublished case it is best to first check with the law library by using the Ask A Librarian form or calling 651-297-7651. If you are certain that the only option for acquiring a brief is through the Clerk's office, you may call (651) 296-2581 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or you may place a request through the Clerk's office email request form. The process may take up to two weeks.  
Historic Briefs 
Efforts to digitize historic court records are ongoing. Currently you can find briefs from cases argued before the Minnesota Supreme Court between 1890-1911 in Hathi Trust Digital Library. 

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 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. As of January 1, 2019 there is also an online database of Court of Appeals oral arguments.

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