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Bankruptcy Law Research: Cases

This guide provides links and descriptions to many of the resources related to bankruptcy law that are available, including print resources, subscription databases and free internet sources.

Bankruptcy Courts

Most bankruptcy cases are heard in the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts which are part of the federal district court.  Appeals may than be taken to the district courts, circuit courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court. 

Free and low-cost access to cases

Google Scholar (scholar.google.com), a separate search service from Google, provides access to state and federal cases.  Narrow your search results by jurisdiction and date.  Google Scholar also includes a "How Cited" feature that allows you to see other cases that cite to your case.

Fastcase is a low-cost legal research database that includes cases, statutes and regulations.  Current JMLS Students have free access to Fastcase while on-campus (link located under "speciality databases" at library.jmls.edu).   Many lawyers in Illinois obtain access to Fastcase through the Illinois State Bar Association, which provides free access to the database as a benefit to its members.

For additional information about free legal resources, see our Free Internet Legal Resource Guide.

Bankruptcy Cases

Most bankruptcy-related decisions are routine and do not result in written opinions.  Unlike federal district court opinions which are published in the Federal Supplement, bankruptcy court decisions do not appear in any official reporter.  Rather bankruptcy court opinions are found in West's Bankruptcy Reporter and several online databases.

Westlaw Bankruptcy Cases All available bankruptcy cases including US Supreme Court cases.

Lexis Bankruptcy Cases all decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals, District and Federal Claims Courts and Bankruptcy Courts

Collier Bankruptcy Cases via Lexis provides summaries of significant bankruptcy issues from all courts.  The summaries are arranged by Bankruptcy Code section and Bankruptcy Rule number and note whether the case is commercial- or consumer-oriented.

Print Resources

West's Bankruptcy Reporter - 10th floor KF1515.A2 W47 (last updated 2010)

West's Bankruptcy Digest - 10th floor KF1515.3 .W48 (last updated 2008)