Monday, February 3, 2014

United States Courts in Massachusetts Documents Online

There are three Federal courts in Massachusetts: United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit; United States District Court District of Massachusetts, and United States Bankruptcy Court District of Massachusetts. The courts are located at the John Joseph Moakley, U.S. Courthouse at 1 Courthouse Way in Boston.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals includes the Districts of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island. On its web page, one can find various types of information. There are also biographical profiles of the judges as well as the First Circuit Rulebook which is a 177 page tome including all 48 rules of the court.

The Library of the United States Courts in the First Circuit is at the Moakley Court House. There are branch libraries in the District Court courthouses in Concord, N.H., Hato Rey, PR, and Providence, R.I. (The branches are only open to court personnel).

Moakley Court House
The United States District Court District of Massachusetts is one of the 94 federal judicial districts.  District courts are the trial courts of the federal court system. These courts, with Congressional and Constitutional limits, hear almost all types of federal cases, both criminal and civil. (This is where the recent case of James Bulger was heard.)

The web page has all the pertinent information needed to access the court. In Massachusetts, there are branches of the Federal District Court in both Springfield and Worcester.

In addition to the Court’s website there are opinions on the website:, under the heading United States Court Opinions for the District of Massachusetts from 2005 to 2013.

The United States Bankruptcy Court District of Massachusetts has offices in Boston, Springfield, and Worcester. Bankruptcy courts help people who need a fresh start because they are unable to pay their creditors. Most bankruptcy cases are filed under Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases. 

The District of Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court on its website: has information one needs to file for bankruptcy.

As with the District Courts, the Federal website:, under the heading United States Court Opinions; there are opinions for the Bankruptcy District of Massachusetts from 2005 to 2013.

Visit the State Library in room 341 of the State House between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, Mondays through Fridays to use our public access computers to access all of the information about the U.S. Courts in Massachusetts.

Bette Siegel
Government Documents Librarian