Attorneys often must submit proposed jury instructions to the court for approval before trial. Jury instructions are also a good source for finding the elements of a civil action or a criminal offense. Sources for jury instructions include:
- Pattern jury instructions written by the court or a state judicial conference. Sometimes courts put these on their web site.
- Jury instructions written or gathered by publishers, sometimes taken from case opinions.
- Jury instructions actually filed with the court. Lexis and Westlaw have databases of these filings. They can also be found via court dockets, see the Court, Dockets, Rules Guide. Another source is attorney document sharing sites.
- Appellate court opinions sometimes quote a jury instruction, and rule upon whether it is proper or not.
Many jury instructions can be found in the library at call number KF8984.
Lexis and Westlaw Path
LexisAdvance - from the All Content Types Pulldown Menu, select Jury Instructions.
WestlawNext - Jury Instructions - search all of them or select a particular jurisdiction
Path on Classic Lexis:
Legal > Area of Law - by Topic > Litigation Practice & Procedure > Find Jury Instructions.
Total Litigator Tab - under Early Case Assessment, Research or Trial Prep. Template to select by practice area or jurisdiction.
Jury Instruction Filings on Lexis: Legal > Court Records, Briefs and Filings> Jury Instructions
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