For the past two years at CourtListener we used a mess of code to scrape the Federal Court system. This worked remarkably well, but we recently began expanding our coverage and it was clear a rewrite was needed. For the past several weeks, we’ve been building a replacement called Juriscraper that is more reliable, understandable, flexible and expandable.

Unlike our old scrapers, Juriscraper is a library that anybody can pick up and use, and which allows your project to easily scrape court websites. It is currently at version 0.1, which supports all of the courts on CourtListener, and over the next few weeks we’ll be adding many more courts until we have all of the available courts in the United States.

We hope that this project will be something that others will use, and that we can thus centralize our scraping efforts. There are many organizations that are currently scraping court websites, each with their own implementations that they build and maintain. This creates lot of duplicated work, and slows down the maintenance for everybody. By finally creating a liberally licensed shared scraper, we hope to bring everybody under the same scraping roof so we can share our effort.

If you’re interested in using the library, please do! It has a simple API and is ready for use. Testing has been light so far, but with your help we hope this project will grow into a mature tool used by many organizations.