A case information statement is a legal document providing information about a case and filed with the court to help the judge and clerks prepare. It may also be known as a cover sheet in some jurisdictions. Usually, people need to follow precise guidelines and it can be advisable to contact a court to see if they have a preferred form for use. Experienced attorneys can fill out a case information statement along with the other services they provide while preparing and pursuing a case in court.
This type of documentation is most commonly associated with civil cases, although it can be filed in a criminal case as well. The case information statement should provide information about who is involved in the case, what is being disputed, and what kinds of prior relationships existed between the parties. It can also provide a summary of details the court may find relevant. In criminal cases, this information is much the same.
Using a case information statement, officers of the court can determine what kind of case is being tried and start their own preparations. This includes putting the case on the court's schedule, determining how much time should be allowed to try it, and initiating procedures like discovery, where both sides have an opportunity to collect information from each other to prepare for trial. The judge may also want to take the time to research similar cases and their outcomes to get a better handle on legal precedent so the case can be heard fairly and judged in accordance with currently accepted jurisprudence.
Many courts have a blank form for case information statements, with prompts people respond to. Using this form will help ensure all the necessary information is collected. Court clerks can provide these forms along with other court documents on request, and often they are available on a court website so people can print them out without having to travel to the court. In a court where a form is not used, people filing their own cases without retaining an attorney should consult the court clerk to find out what information needs to be provided, or look at sample case information statements to get information about formatting and content.
This document, along with others, becomes part of the permanent record of the case. It will be filed for posterity and may be digitized if the court is working on creating and maintaining electronic records. People conducting legal research can look up the case record and review the case information statement, as well as other documents of interest.