Court opinions or legal opinions are the primary source of decisional (case) law. They represent the end result of a very complex process. If we visualize the court as “the place wherein justice is judicially administered” (EHRLICH’S BLACKSTONE, at 465 (1959)), then a court opinion can be described as the final expression of the administered justice.
Justice is administered through a well-defined procedure which is mirrored in court documents. Those court documents are part of the case docket. Because they are filed with the courts, they are open to the public, unless the judge in charge decides otherwise. The docket can be accessed through the court clerk’s office. To the extent that the filings are done through electronic submission, those documents can be accessed electronically, through different databases, including Pacer (restricted to federal courts), BloombergLaw.com, Westlaw and Lexis.