How Do You Read a Court Docket?


Quick Answer

Though court dockets vary in format depending on location and type of court, they always contain the same basic information. This includes the case name and details, case or docket number, as well as filing dates and the date that the case is scheduled to be heard, states Yale Law School.

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Full Answer

A docket generally begins with the overall details of the case, including its filing number and the name of the petitioner or group of petitioners, according to Yale Law School. This is followed by the date on which the docket was filed and the dates of any decisions and re-hearings that apply to the trial, as well as the county the case was heard in.

Most, though not all, dockets include the details of proceedings and orders to do with the case; for example, the date on which briefs and petitions were filed, reports Yale Law School. Look for keywords that give a general impression of the case, such as bankruptcy or criminal. Finally, look for the most recent entry to determine the judgment that was rendered in the case.

A court docket summarizes all the available information about a particular trial or case, and is most often used by parties not involved in a trial to research its current status and history, according to Yale Law School. This can be particularly helpful if the trial has lasted for several years and has become very detailed and involved.

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