The Value of Unpublished Opinions

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For some time now, judges and lawyers have debated the pros and cons of permitting lawyers to cite to unpublished opinions. The debate has heated up in the last several years after the Supreme Court, in 2006, over the objection of several hundred judges and lawyers, adopted a new Rule 32.1 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure requireing that federal courts allow citation of unpublished cases issued on or after Jan. 1, 2007. Unlike federal law, California law still forbids lawyers from citing to unpublished opinions. (California Rule of Court 8.1115.) This article gathers and summarizes several key arguments advanced by supporters of Rule 32.1 in favor of permitting lawyers to cite to unpublished opinions.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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