Reports Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Reports, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Reports?

(n) Reports are the public decisions of the appellant courts that are updated chronologically to be used for references purposes

History and Meaning of Reports

Reports refer to the formal records of judicial decisions made by the appellate courts. They are called reports because they provide a detailed account of the proceedings of a legal case, ensuring that every aspect is thoroughly documented. The records serve as a source of guidance for future legal proceedings, as well as for reviewing previous decisions.

The first reports date back to the 13th century and were compiled by English law students, who wrote down the details of cases that were deemed significant. The records were largely unregulated and inconsistent, with varying degrees of detail provided. With time, however, the records became more systematized, and the practice of reporting decisions became more regularized.

Nowadays, reports are authoritative, and any legal scholar would refer to them to understand the outcome of an appeal case, review precedence, and determine the legal principles enunciated.

Examples of Reports

  1. The United Kingdom Law Reports
  2. Australian Legal Reports
  3. Supreme Court Reports (Canada)
  4. United States Reports
  5. Federal Reporter

Legal Terms Similar to Reports

  1. Digest - a summary of legal decisions on a particular legal topic.
  2. Precedent - a judicial decision that serves as a guide for future cases.
  3. Case law - the collection of legal opinions and decisions handed down by the court that constitute the law of the land.