Internet Materials in Opinions: Citations and Hyperlinking

The Judicial Conference has issued a series of “suggested practices” to assist courts in the use of Internet materials in opinions. The recommendations follow a pilot project conducted by circuit librarians who captured and preserved webpages cited in opinions over a six-month period.  The guidelines suggest that the citation be preserved by downloading a copy of the sites page and filing it as an attachment to the judicial opinion in the Judiciarys Case Management/Electronic Case Files System.  The Judicial Conference also recommended that the Judiciary avoid including in final opinions working hyperlinks that lead directly to materials contained within commercial vendor databases to prevent a stated or implied endorsement or preferential treatment. To the extent that a court determines that such hyperlinks are to be used in opinions, it is recommended that an appropriate disclaimer be provided.  For more information read “The Third Branch: Newsletter of Federal Courts“.