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Arizona Law: Arizona Courts

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Arizona Courts
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CITING ARIZONA CASES

Although the Arizona Supreme Court once required parallel citations to the Pacific Reporter and the Arizona Reporter, a change in the rules enables parties to file paperwork with the courts including only references to the Arizona Reporter. This contradicts Bluebook Table 1, which states that citations should be to the Pacific Reporter if it includes the case. 

OLD SUPREME COURT PARALLEL CITATION RULE
Example: Silver v. Pueblo Del Sol Water Co., 244 Ariz. 553, 562 423 P.3d 348, 357 (2018).

CURRENT BLUEBOOK RULE
Example: Silver v. Pueblo Del Sol Water Co., 423 P.3d 348, 357 (Ariz. 2018).

CURRENT SUPREME COURT RULES
Example: Silver v. Pueblo Del Sol Water Co., 244 Ariz. 553, 562 (2018).

ARIZONA STATE COURT SYSTEM

The Arizona Judicial Branch website offers a Guide to Arizona Courts with detailed information on each level of the state’s courts and links to court websites.  This website also provides information on cases heard in 177 of the 184 courts in Arizona through its Public Access to Court Information website.  

Justice of the Peace and Municipal (City) Courts: both justice courts  and municipal, or city, courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
Justice courts are county-specific and can hear traffic cases and certain criminal and civil cases, including domestic violence and harassment cases. Their civil jurisdiction is limited to cases involving claims of $10,000 or less.  Justice courts are presided over by elected justices of the peace who hold four (4) year terms of office

Municipal courts are city-specific and have criminal jurisdiction over misdemeanor crimes and petty offenses committed in their city. They share jurisdiction with justice courts over violations of state law committed within their city limits.The judges and hearing officers in a city or town court are either employees of the city or town or are hired on a contract basis.

You can access detailed case information for some Municipal Courts within Maricopa County at the Arizona Supreme Court's Public Access to Court Case Information. Click on the “Courts Included” link to view coverage.

Superior Court: The Superior Court is the state's general jurisdiction court.  It is a single entity with locations in each county: ApacheCochiseCoconinoGilaGrahamGreenleeLa PazMaricopaMohaveNavajoPimaPinalSanta CruzYavapai, and Yuma.

Court of Appeals: The Arizona Court of Appeals is the first level of appeal up from the superior court.  It was established in 1965 and has two divisions: Division One is located in Phoenix and Division Two is in Tucson.

Supreme Court: The Arizona Supreme Court is the highest court in the state.  Its primary judicial duties under Article VI, §5 of the Arizona Constitution are to review appeals and to provide rules of procedure for all the courts in Arizona.

LOCATING COURT OPINIONS

Arizona Public Access to Court Information
The Arizona Supreme Court's Public Access to Court Information website provides information about court cases from many Arizona courts.

Arizona Reports
Opinions from the Arizona Court of Appeals and Arizona Supreme Court are published in the official 
Arizona ReportsThe Arizona Reports include Arizona Supreme Court decisions dating from territorial times and Arizona Court of Appeals decisions beginning in 1977.  The publication is available in print in the Law Library:

Arizona Reports is indexed by the Arizona Digest according to the West topic and key number system.  This indexing system allows searching for cases utilizing detailed word and case name indexes.

Arizona Appeals Reports
Arizona Court of Appeals decisions published from the court’s creation in 1965 through 1976 are available in the Arizona Appeals Reports. It is available in print in the Law Library: Report of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of Appeals of the State of Arizona, 1965-1976. Court of Appeals cases from 1977-present are published in the Report of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals of the State of Arizona.

Free Resources

  • Arizona Supreme Court: The Arizona Judicial Branch website provides access to Arizona Supreme Court opinions and memorandum decisions (1998-present).  The website also offers an electronic notification system for newly released opinions.
  • Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One: Opinions 2003-2007 and Opinions 2007-present.
  • Arizona Court of Appeals, Division Two: Opinions 2002-present
  • Justia: The Justia website provides access to select Arizona Supreme Court opinions (1950-present) and Arizona Court of Appeals opinions (2000-present).
  • FindLaw: The FindLaw website allows searching of select Arizona Supreme Court opinions (1997-present) and Arizona Court of Appeals opinions (1997-present).
  • Google Scholar: Google Scholar provides access to Arizona Supreme Court and Arizona Court of Appeals opinions.

Subscription Resources

COURT RULES

In addition to the general Rules of Practice and Procedure for the federal courts and the general rules of procedure for Arizona courts, there are court-specific (local) rules for practicing before both Arizona state and federal courts. The Arizona Rules of Court for state and federal courts are available in print and online.  The Law Library has the following publications in print:

Free Resources

  • Arizona Rules of Court, Westlaw: This Thomson Reuters website provides free access to the unannotated Arizona state and local court rules.
  • Arizona Court Rules Forum: The Arizona Judicial Branch website provides an online Arizona Court Rules Forum which contains recent rulings from the Supreme Court relating to the rules, a list of recent amendments to the rules, a list of pending rule change petitions, and a page on which pending rule change petitions may be viewed and new rule petitions and comments may be electronically filed.
  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona – Local Rules: The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona provides access to the local rules of court online.
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit – Local Rules: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit provides access to the local rules of court online.

Subscription Resources