Series 1487
Supreme Court Opinions

Dates: 1886-

33.35 cubic feetSkip to Containers

These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Historical Note

An agency history is available.

Scope and Content

This series contains the typed, signed copies of opinions of the justices of the Utah Supreme Court. Opinions show the date of filing, name and signature of authoring justice, case title, case number, and the text of the opinion. Opinions are the written decisions of the Court. They typically summarize the facts in the case, the lower court findings, and the issues of law which are in dispute. The opinion will then explain the applicable law, leading to the Court's decision. Opinions typical end with an order which affirms, reverses, or amends the lower court ruling. A reversed or vacated judgment may then be remanded to the lower court for additional proceedings in line with the Supreme Court's ruling.

There are three basic types of opinions. The Court's opinion, also called the majority opinion, reflects the decision of the Court and the Court's reasons for the decision. All cases which are decided have a majority opinion. If the majority opinion is not unanimous, a justice who disagrees may write a dissenting opinion which outlines how he feels the case should have been decided and where the majority opinion strayed. A justice who disagrees with the reasoning in the majority opinion, but accepts the final conclusion, may write a concurring opinion. It is possible to find opinions which concur in part and dissent in part, if there is a complicated case with several issues to be resolved. These are more common in the U. S. Supreme Court and seem very rare in the Utah opinions described here.


Numerical by case number except for 92 unnumbered cases, which are chronological by filing date, at the beginning of the series.

Research Note

Cases must be located by case number. To find a case number, use the Access index for territorial cases. This index includes all party names. For statehood-era cases, search the Utah Reports, series 1481, for the case by finding the year the case sought was decided and then checking that volume of Utah Reports for the case title in the Table of Cases Reported. The case number is included in the Utah Reports reporting of the opinion.

Related Records

Utah Reporter from the Supreme Court, Series 1481, is the final publication of the opinions.

Utah Advance Reports from the Supreme Court, Series 17662, is the first published form of the opinions.

Record of opinions books from the Territorial Supreme Court, Series 25939, contains the written opinions of Supreme Court justices

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public.

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Gaps in Series

There are many discontinuities in the case numbers, with approximately 82% of the case numbers 0-7299 represented. The other 18% of case numbers likely include some missing cases and some cases withdrawn or for some other reason not decided by the Court. There are no large groups of case numbers missing from the collection described here.

Processing Note

Processed by Paul Smith in May 1998.

Finding Aids

Other: The case number may also be located indirectly by searching UTAH REPORTS, series 1481 (see Research Note). Indexes: An electronic (Microsoft Access 97 )index is available in the Research Center. This index covers territorial cases, corresponding to the first three boxes of the series, covering from 1886 thru 1896.

Indexing Terms

  • Appellate courts—Records and correspondence—Utah.
  • Utah—Appellate procedure.

Container List

1 1886-1890 unnumbered early cases
1 1888-1890 0-100
2 1891-1893 101-374
3 1893-1896 376-625
4 1896-1897 626-825
5 1897-1898 826-975
6 1898-1899 976-1140
7 1899-1901 1141-1300
8 1901-1903 1301-1475
9 1904-1906 1476-1675
10 1906-1907 1676-1850
11 1907-1909 1851-2000
12 1909-1911 2001-2150
13 1911-1912 2151-2350
14 1912-1914 2351-2574
15 1914-1916 2576-2800
16 1916-1917 2801-3025
17 1917-1919 3027-3275
18 1919-1920 3276-3500
19 1920-1922 3501-3750
20 1922-1923 3751-3975
21 1923-1925 3976-4200
22 1925-1926 4201-4425
23 1926-1928 4426-4650
24 1928-1930 4651-4900
25 1930-1933 4901-5125
26 1932-1934 5127-5375
27 1933-1937 5376-5625
28 1935-1937 5626-5850
29 1937-1940 5851-6125
30 1939-1943 6126-6399
31 1942-1944 6401-6650
32 1944-1946 6651-6950
33 1946-1949 6951-7199
34 1949-1950 7201-7299

Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.