Primary Sources, Secondary Sources and Beyond

Exploring HeinOnline, Fastcase
Shannon Sabo

HeinOnline has long been known as an excellent platform for historical and current periodicals, books, and government documents. HeinOnline also has extensive case law coverage, much of which is provided through a partnership with Fastcase. The U.S. Reports, which contain the officially-published opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court, are available from inception to current in HeinOnline’s U.S. Supreme Court Library.

The partnership HeinOnline has with Fastcase provides access to case law from additional courts, including:

  • Federal circuit courts
  • Federal district courts
  • State appellate courts
  • Many more!

Coverage of case law powered by Fastcase dates back, in most cases, to the 1950s or even earlier. For HeinOnline users, this partnership offers a comprehensive and incredibly affordable research experience without the hassle of using multiple databases.

Finding Cases in HeinOnline

HeinOnline’s platform is easy to use, and there are multiple ways to quickly find a case by citation, case title, or topic.

Citation: Using the Case Law tab at the top of any page in HeinOnline, enter a case citation to retrieve it either from within HeinOnline or from Fastcase.

If a case is only available via Fastcase, it will automatically be imported into the HeinOnline interface. If a case is available in HeinOnline’s U.S. Reports and via Fastcase, users are able to select their preferred version.

Citations on pages throughout HeinOnline are highlighted in blue. Clicking these citations will retrieve the document associated with the cite, whether it’s a case, article, or external website.

Case Title: For U.S. Supreme Court cases, enter the U.S. Supreme Court Library. Click the Advanced Search link located beneath the main search bar at the top of the page. Use the case title field to enter the terms.

To find cases available only via Fastcase, select Fastcase* from the list of subscribed databases on the HeinOnline Welcome Page. Enter the terms in the Case Title field.

Topic: To search only Supreme Court cases by topic, enter the U.S. Supreme Court Library. Use the main search bar located at the top of the page, or use the Advanced Search link to search within specific fields. For example, enter “illegal search and seizure” in the main search bar.

To search across Fastcase content, select Fastcase* from the list of databases on the HeinOnline Welcome Page. Enter your terms into the text field.

Case results will also appear when searching across all subscribed content.* To limit results to include only cases, perform your search using either the main search bar or the advanced search link from the HeinOnline Welcome Page. Next, use the facets on the left side of the page to select Cases.

 

ScholarCheck and Bad Law Bot: Two Powerful Tools

 

 

 

Hein’s ScholarCheck tool is integrated with all case law, whether it’s native to HeinOnline or Fastcase. ScholarCheck enables users to link among related documents and to view articles and cases* which cite other articles and cases. It also counts the number of times articles and U.S. Supreme Court cases are accessed by other HeinOnline users within a rolling 12-month period. Look for ScholarCheck information in search results or within documents. Cited-by information for articles and cases are hyperlinks which link to the list of articles and cases* citing each document.

 

 

 

 

Fastcase’s Bad Law Bot helps researchers determine when negative treatment is posted to a case. Look for red flags in search results and within Fastcase documents; this flag is an indicator that the case has potentially been overturned or overruled by a subsequent case. Link* to the list of cases which have posted negative treatment to a current case.

But There’s More!

HeinOnline has case law in addition to that at the U.S. federal and state levels.

  1. Canada Supreme Court Reports: This official bilingual series is published under the authority of the Supreme Court Act. This collection contains nearly 10,000 cases which include background information, statutes and regulations, authors cited, analysis, and the decision.
  2. Early American Case Law: This database includes the Federal Cases 30-book series (1894-1897) which contains more than 20,000 cases. Also included is the Trinity Series, which includes American Decisions, American Reports, and American State Reports.
  3. English ReportsThe English Reports set delivers exact page images of the original bound reprint edition, containing more than 100,000 cases, together with the Indexes and Book of Charts. In addition, multiple navigation tools, such as a Case Locator, Chart Tool, and an Advanced Search feature, enhance the ease of access to specific cases. Also included in this collection is Statutes of the Realm (1235-1713), along with Pre-1865 Law Reports.

Case Law Infographic

To easily understand the case law content available in HeinOnline and via Fastcase, check out this infographic.

If you have any questions about finding cases in HeinOnline or about the Fastcase partnership, please contact our dedicated support team at (800) 828-7571, email us, or chat with us!

*These features are included with a Fastcase Premium subscription. Fastcase Premium is available by synchronizing an existing institutional Fastcase subscription with HeinOnline or by purchasing an upgrade through HeinOnline. For more information, contact marketing@wshein.com.

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