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Free Legal Resources, Pennsylvania - 2014 Update

May 28, 2014

By Ed Greenlee, Associate Director of Public Services

If you are seeking to perform Pennsylvania legal research, a variety of free legal web-based Pennsylvania resources are available. While these sites do not replace Lexis Advance, WestlawNext, or Bloomberg Law, they are great starting points to begin your research. This post collects a sampling of some free Pennsylvania primary sources covering case law, statutes, bills, administrative codes and regulations, and the constitution.

To access information about Pennsylvania Courts visit the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, this site contains appellate court opinions, statewide dockets, annual statistical reports and more. You will find information on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, Common Pleas Courts and minor courts. There is information dates back to 1996 for the Supreme Court and 1997 for Superior and Commonwealth Courts.
PA Statutes and Bills
You can access Pennsylvania’s statues via the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s webpage, which allows browsing by title. Statutory text is available in PDF, Word, and html formats. It also links to the Pennsylvania Senate and House as well. State bills are also searchable via the General Assembly webpage, by bill number, keyword, or topic.
This link offers a guide to compiling a Pennsylvania Legislative History from free internet resources.
Pennsylvania State Capitol. Photo by Kumar Appaiah.Pennsylvania State Capitol. Photo by Kumar Appaiah.
PA State Codes and Regulations
The Pennsylvania Code is an official publication of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It contains regulations and other documents filed with the Legislative Reference Bureau. This link will provide access to the Pennsylvania Code – which includes the full-text of Pennsylvania’s administrative regulations. Keyword searching allows searching across the entire Code, as well as within individual code titles. A browse feature is also available. 
PA Constitution
In 1776, Pennsylvania enacted its first state constitution, in direct response to the Declaration of Independence and upon instructions of the Second Continental Congress. The above link provides the full text of the current state constitution.
Additional Links
Jenkins Law Library located in Center City Philadelphia offers a number of useful research guides that are specific to Pennsylvania Legal Research.
A listing of local government websites throughout the Commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Governor’s Website which includes links to state agencies as well as to Cabinet Officials and Offices & Commissions.
For an in-depth look at Pennsylvania Legal Resources, please consult the Pennsylvania Legal Research Handbook by Frank Y. Liu, et al.

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