The Free Law Projects Launches Court Opinion API

The Free Law Project has launched a U.S. court opinions API as part of the Court Listener project, which currently aggregates 2,204,339 court opinions, from 350 jurisdictions.

The Court Listener Opinions API is a well designed, dead simple REST API with 7 endpoints to search opinions, citations across jurisdictions, using Basic Auth to secure the API.

Along with the simple API and docs, the Court Listener provides a blog and forum to support developers, and bulk downloads of all data in addition to the REST API.

The court opinions API implementation is a model to follow for other public sector open data and API projects. The API and supporting developer area is simple and very well done, providing all the essential building blocks needed to grow an ecosystem around the API and data.

The entire API and data is released in the public domain, and relies on donations to do the work and keep the lights on--something that should be the bar set for all public data projects.

This external, open approach to liberating, aggregating and improving on vital public sector data, is a model we need to replicate across all areas of city, county, state and federal government in all sectors.