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Learn More About the "Third Branch" of Government

Have you ever heard media coverage about a court case wanted to learn more?

Utah's court proceedings and records are public, with a few exceptions.

Want to attend a court proceeding?
The public is welcome to attend nearly all district court and some juvenile court hearings. Today's court calendars are available online. The calendar will tell you what time, which courtroom, the type of hearing and who the judge is.

Sitting in on a hearing is a great way to see how the system works, and is especially helpful if you are representing yourself in a case before the court. You may discover that real-life court isn't exactly the way it's shown on tv.

Child welfare proceedings in juvenile court are open to the public, although the judge does have the discretion to close the hearing. Adoptions and most juvenile delinquency proceedings are not public.

Want to see what documents have been filed in a case?
Court records are kept at the courthouse where the case was filed. With few exceptions, district court records are available for public inspection. Most juvenile court records are not public.

The Utah State Courts' Public Information Officer maintains a high profile cases web page which provides information about cases that have drawn media attention, and includes documents ranging from pleadings of the parties to court orders.

Older court records are kept at the Utah State Archives, including district court and supreme court records.

Wonder what it's like have a case before one of Utah's appellate courts?
The Utah Supreme Court and Utah Court of Appeals provide audio files of their oral arguments, letting you listen in on the proceedings without having to go through court security screening. You can also attend in person. Check the oral argument calendar for the schedule of upcoming cases.

You can subscribe to the appellate opinion notification service to receive weekly emails of the recently-released opinions of the Utah Supreme Court and Utah Court of Appeals, or read opinions on the courts' website back to the late 1990s.

Briefs for appellate cases that are current/pending are available in the appellate clerks' office. Once the case is closed, the original briefs are sent to the Utah State Law Library. You can read briefs in the State Law Library, or request copies through our document delivery service.

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