The New York Official Reports constitute the official and permanent record of the decisions and proceedings of the New York State Unified Court System. By statuteCPLR 5529 (e)attorneys are required to cite all New York court decisions from the Official Reports in briefs, memoranda and papers submitted to the New York courts.
The Official Reports are professionally edited and prepared for publication by the New York State Law Reporting Bureau, which is the largest official reporter of court decisions in the United States, serving as it does the largest court system in the Nation. The Law Reporting Bureau is established by article 14 of the Judiciary Law and functions as an agency of the Court of Appeals.
The day-to-day operations of the Law Reporting Bureau are managed by the State Reporter. The current State Reporter is the 26th in a line of succession dating back to 1804. The State Reporter selects the staff of the Law Reporting Bureau presently numbering 28 attorneys and support staff subject to approval of the Court of Appeals, and all policy decisions are approved by the Court of Appeals.
The New York Official Reports constitute the largest official case law database in the United States, consisting of 803 volumes in the First Series and 605 volumes in the Second Series. A Third Series was introduced in 2004.
The Official Reports publish the decisions of the State Unified Court System in three separate series of bound volumes which correspond to the three levels of the court system:
- The decisions of the Court of Appeals are published in a series of Reports known as the New York Reports. The New York Reports were begun in 1847, the year that the Court of Appeals first convened. Prior to that time, the Official Reports published the decisions of predecessor courts of last resort and were named after their Reporters, such as Johnson, Wendell and Hill.
- The decisions of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court are reported in another series of Reports known as the Appellate Division Reports. The Appellate Division Reports were begun in 1896, which is the date that the Appellate Division of Supreme Court was created.
- Appellate Term and Trial Court opinions are selectively published in a third series of Reports known as the Miscellaneous Reports. The Miscellaneous Reports were begun in 1893. The Appellate Terms are the lower appellate courts in the First and Second Departments, and decide civil appeals and criminal appeals from the Civil Court and Criminal Court of New York City, District Courts of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and Town and Village Justice Courts. The Trial Courts include the Supreme Court, Court of Claims, Family Court, Surrogate's Court, County Courts, City Courts, Civil Court of the City of New York, Criminal Court of the City of New York, District Courts of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and Town and Village Justice Courts.
Decisions from all three levels of courts are combined in weekly paperback Advance Sheets, issued 52 weeks a year. The Official Reports also are published in online and microfiche editions.