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Jury Instructions Research Guide: District Courts

Jury instructions are directions from the judge to the jury regarding the applicable law specific to the case being tried. They serve as a guide to assist the jurors in understanding the legal and factual issues and in reaching a verdict.

Finding Jury Instructions

Find instructions using these databases. Access is restricted and requires individual username and password.

Bloomberg Law - Choose Litigation → Dockets Tab → Litigation Resources → Other Court Materials → Federal and State Jury Instructions


LexisAdvance - Choose Browse → Sources by Category → Jury Instructions


Westlaw - Choose All Content → Secondary Sources → Jury Instructions


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District Courts

The United States District Courts are the trial courts of the federal court system. The district courts have jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal cases, including civil and criminal matters. Trial courts include a district court judge and a jury that decides the case. There are 94 federal judicial districts, including at least one district in each state and the District of Columbia. Four territories, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, have U.S. district courts which hear federal cases, including bankruptcy cases.

Many federal district courts include jury instructions on their websites. Some judges may have their own preferred standard jury instructions. To find the instructions, go to the court's website and also check the judges' listings. Lists of district courts can be found at the Court Websites Links page of the United States Courts website with links to the district courts websites. A list of the United States District Courts, arranged alphabetically by state, with links to the Courts' websites can be found on Findlaw. Jury instructions for some district courts are included. The directories listed below may be useful for providing contact information for district courts as well as specific judges.