Supreme Court Opinions
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
An agency history is available.
Scope and Content
This series contains the typed, signed copies of opinions of the justices of the Utah Supreme Court. Opinions show the date of filing, name and signature of authoring justice, case title, case number, and the text of the opinion. Opinions are the written decisions of the Court. They typically summarize the facts in the case, the lower court findings, and the issues of law which are in dispute. The opinion will then explain the applicable law, leading to the Court's decision. Opinions typical end with an order which affirms, reverses, or amends the lower court ruling. A reversed or vacated judgment may then be remanded to the lower court for additional proceedings in line with the Supreme Court's ruling.
There are three basic types of opinions. The Court's opinion, also called the majority opinion, reflects the decision of the Court and the Court's reasons for the decision. All cases which are decided have a majority opinion. If the majority opinion is not unanimous, a justice who disagrees may write a dissenting opinion which outlines how he feels the case should have been decided and where the majority opinion strayed. A justice who disagrees with the reasoning in the majority opinion, but accepts the final conclusion, may write a concurring opinion. It is possible to find opinions which concur in part and dissent in part, if there is a complicated case with several issues to be resolved. These are more common in the U. S. Supreme Court and seem very rare in the Utah opinions described here.
Numerical by case number except for 92 unnumbered cases, which are chronological by filing date, at the beginning of the series.
Cases must be located by case number. To find a case number, use the Access index for territorial cases. This index includes all party names. For statehood-era cases, search the Utah Reports, series 1481, for the case by finding the year the case sought was decided and then checking that volume of Utah Reports for the case title in the Table of Cases Reported. The case number is included in the Utah Reports reporting of the opinion.
Utah Reporter from the Supreme Court, Series 1481, is the final publication of the opinions.
Utah Advance Reports from the Supreme Court, Series 17662, is the first published form of the opinions.
Record of opinions books from the Territorial Supreme Court, Series 25939, contains the written opinions of Supreme Court justices
This series is classified as Public.
Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.
Gaps in Series
There are many discontinuities in the case numbers, with approximately 82% of the case numbers 0-7299 represented. The other 18% of case numbers likely include some missing cases and some cases withdrawn or for some other reason not decided by the Court. There are no large groups of case numbers missing from the collection described here.
Processed by Paul Smith in May 1998.
Other: The case number may also be located indirectly by searching UTAH REPORTS, series 1481 (see Research Note). Indexes: An electronic (Microsoft Access 97 )index is available in the Research Center. This index covers territorial cases, corresponding to the first three boxes of the series, covering from 1886 thru 1896.
- Appellate courts—Records and correspondence—Utah.
- Utah—Appellate procedure.
|1||1886-1890||unnumbered early cases|