The Supreme Judicial Court provides access to certain case information online. Learn how to search for what you need, including docket entries, oral argument calendars and decisions issued by the court.
Search for SJC Case Information
Cases heard by the Supreme Judicial Court are searchable online. Searches may be conducted by docket number, involved party, attorney appearance, lower court, or lower court judge. The information is updated daily in an effort to provide attorneys, litigants, the media and the general public with easy access to the most updated appellate case information. Public case information and files that are not impounded are available for viewing at the Office of the Clerk for the Commonwealth for cases filed before the full bench of the Supreme Judicial Court, and at the Office of the Clerk for Suffolk County for cases filed before the single justice.
Note: These online services are provided by the appellate courts’ case management system vendor. Viewers are advised that the official court file is the tangible one located at the court and not this website. For more information about the source, coverage, and currency of what is made available on this website, visit www.ma-appellatecourts.org/help_about.php.
The Supreme Judicial Court hears oral arguments the first full week of every month from September through May. Oral arguments are hearings in which appealing parties, or their attorneys arguing on their behalf, have an opportunity to present their case to the panel of justices and tell them why they believe errors of law were or were not made at the trial court or by the state agency where the case was first heard. They are public proceedings. All arguments are online and are later archived for public viewing. Court sessions are held in Courtroom 1 on the second floor of the John Adams Courthouse and are open to the public. Sessions begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at approximately 1:00 p.m. Oral arguments for each case generally take about a half hour (fifteen minutes per side).
Approximately 25 cases are considered each month. The court calendar is posted each month online.
Cases are generally called in the order in which they are listed on the sheet posted outside the courtroom. If you are interested in viewing a particular case, you may contact the Clerk for the Commonwealth to determine approximately when it will be heard. The Clerk for the Commonwealth has a helpful guide that outlines what to expect when viewing or arguing oral arguments before the Court.
From time to time, the Supreme Judicial Court solicits amicus ("friend of the court") briefs or memoranda from parties not directly involved in a case, but that may have an interest or opinion about a case pending before the full bench of the Supreme Judicial Court. The Office of the Clerk for the Commonwealth frequently posts announcements online soliciting amicus briefs from interested parties. Briefs must be filed with the Clerk's office.
Single Justice Sessions
The Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, also known as the Single Justice Session, is that part of the court's business in which an associate justice essentially acts as a trial judge. Generally, single justice hearings are held in Courtroom 2 (Holmes Courtroom) on the second floor of the John Adams Courthouse, every Wednesday beginning at 9:30 a.m. Check the single justice calendar online for specific dates.
Search Supreme Judicial Court Opinions
Supreme Judicial Court opinions are available to the public on the Reporter of Decisions web page. Opinions are available to the public shortly after 10 a.m. on days opinions are released. Most opinions are released within 130 days of oral argument. Attorneys, the public, and members of the media can register for automatic email delivery of cases. Opinions posted on the Reporter of Decisions web page are removed within two weeks then appear in advance sheet format in the opinion archive. The opinions of the SJC and Appeals Court released since 2001 are available, without charge, on the opinion archive page and are fully searchable.