Unpublished Opinions and Published Opinions

It is not possible to publish and publish all opinions of courts. Most courts cite unpublished opinions according to their rules. The Supreme Court Rule 23 of the Illinois Supreme Court specifies that the Court (and the Appellate Court) may designate a disposition as an order, which will disappear from either the official or unofficial reports and cannot be cited as precedent. Lexis and Westlaw will usually pick up these unpublished opinions. These research services have been exhibiting this trend more recently, however. Neither opinions nor orders have been retroactively added to previously unpublished documents. Besides requiring no citation, these opinions tend to be enforced by courts. Since most of the decisions in these cases are the same application of settled law, the rules cite this as the reasoning behind it. Regardless of the truth of this, courts have the right to identify documents and, not for publication.

The journal section of Illinois case reports is also limited in length. It is not uncommon to find entire text sections in online opinions that do not appear in the published report. Markers will be visible on the online versions to distinguish between the unpublished and published text. Nevertheless, these kinds of opinions are still in demand, especially by attorneys who believe they ought to discover all relevant opinions, regardless of whether they are citable.

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Cases That Have Not Been Published or Reported
Cases that have not been published or reported are as follows:

Cases that have yet to be published include:

It is a standard practice for the court to place some citation limitations on an opinion – typically, there is some language that indicates when the opinion may be cited and when it may not or a reference to a rule that outlines this information.

This opinion is not citable by the court.

There will be no public release of the court’s opinion.

In response to the court’s notice, LexisNexis has received the case, but it has not been published.

LexisNexis typically includes on unpublished cases a notice explaining that the case is not citable or unpublished, where the language varies depending on how the court phrased the notification.

The following cases are unreported:

In the national reporter systems such as NWS’s Federal Reporters and West Regional Reporters, unreported cases have not been published in hard copy reporter series.

The courts can place no limitations on the citation to or publication status of published cases that are unreported. For example, the editors of the hard copy reporters may decide not to include a case, but the opinion is still published regardless.

Opinions that are Unpublished and Non-Precedential
The court of appeals opinions not published and non-precedential are as follows:

Opinions Not Published: Previously, court opinions were declared either published or unpublished by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Until this most recent amendment to Minnesota Statute 480A.08, defined opinions as being published when:

The decision either establishes a new legal principle;

judicial procedure; reverses a previous appeals court decision;

relates to statutory interpretation or administrative law;

presents substantial legal issues; or

impacts the administration of justice significantly.

There were still unpublished opinions available to explain to parties why the court made its decision. Still, they did not serve as a precedent and are only relevant under limited circumstances to judicial proceedings in California. However, these are public documents available in the opinion archive and through commercial services such as Westlaw.

Opinions with no precedential value: According to the current version of Minn, based on legislative action in 2020, opinions are now categorized as precedential or nonpresidential. The Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure state that in determining whether an opinion is to be taken as precedential, the panel of judges who decide the merits of the appeal may examine all relevant factors, including whether the opinion on the following:

A new principle or the rule of law is established, or caselaw that already exists, is clarified;

The case ends a novel legal controversy related to a constitutional provision, statute, rule of court, or administrative regulation;

demonstrates the application of established principles or precedents;

presents unusual facts or atypical procedural history;

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