The California State Archives hold over 25,000 cubic feet of historic records of the Supreme Court of California and the California Courts of Appeal. The Supreme and Appellate Court records form a rich source for researchers studying legal, social, economic, political and other aspects of California's history. These record groups include civil and criminal case files, minutes, civil and criminal registers of actions, and other types of records. The State Archives generally does not have Superior Court records; these are found at the county level. For exceptions, please see Local Government Records.

Supreme and Appellate Court case files at the State Archives prior to the 1930s have been indexed by the names of plaintiffs and defendants. For access to post-1930s cases, researchers need to provide the case file or docket number. Information about many Supreme and Appellate Court cases dating from the 1980s and later, including case file numbers, can be found on the website of California’s Judicial Branch. Please note, beginning in the 1980s the State Archives implemented a sampling program of Appellate Court case files in an attempt to reduce the volume of records being retained.

To learn more about the history of the Supreme Court of California, please consult the California Supreme Court Historical Society.

To learn more about the history of the California Courts of Appeal, please consult the California Appellate Court Legacy Project.