LEGAL CITATION
LEGAL INFORMATION ACCESS & SERVICES


A. Legal citation -- reference to source of legal authority
B. Court citations
C. Federal court cases - Supreme Court
D. Federal court cases - Courts of Appeals and District Courts
E. State court cases
F. Citation policy

mini_slide.gif (1024 bytes) Legal Citation


A. Legal citation -- reference to source of legal authority        ^Top^

1. Harvard Book of Citations (The Blue Book: A Uniform System of Citation) The Blue Book sets out basic principles of citation form and gives basic examples; general standards of citation and style; provides specific rules for citation to cases, statutes, books, periodicals, foreign materials, and international materials; and has tables outlining US federal and state jurisdictions with appropriate abbreviations for primary source materials, information for foreign nations and intergovernmental organizations, and abbreviations for case names, court names, geographical terms, periodicals, and looseleaf services.

2. Book is organized to provide rules from general citation form rules through specific examples to the general rules for primary and secondary sources.

3. Electronically or digitally published citation manuals are available on the Internet; e.g., Basic Legal Citation from the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University School of Law - http://www.law.cornell.edu:80/citation/rules.html#how_to_cite-cases

4. Elements of citations for basic legal document - case

a. Case name

b. Reporter/location information

c. Court and jurisdiction

d. Date and/or year of decision

e. Parenthetical information regarding the case (judges rulings)

f. Prior and subsequent case history

g. Special or unique citation forms - electronic publication of case or looseleaf publication

Titan v. JPL , 21 Voy L. Rep'ts 1 (S. D. Cal. 1993) (Stone, J. dissenting), aff'd, 1994 U.S. App LEXIS 1952, at *7 (9th Cir. July 31, 1994)

Titan v. JPL case name

21 Voy L. Rep'ts 1 reporter/location information

( S.D. Cal. 1993) court, jurisdiction, date, year

(Stone, J. dissenting) parenthetical information

aff'd prior and subsequent histories

1994 U.S. App LEXIS special citation form

1952, at *7

B. Court citations                                                                         ^Top^

1. Basic citations

a. 325 A.2d 681 (1991)

b. Volume number is 325

c. Reporter set Atlantic Reporter second series abbreviated as A.2d

d. The first page of the case is 681

e. The that the case was decided is noted in parentheses. (1991)

2. Requirements of the caption or name of the case

a. Last name of the first plaintiff and defendant of the case

b. Full name of corporation or partnership

c. Include any procedural phrases except in administrative actions

d. Initials are only used if they are part of a corporate name

e. Omit phrases of locations such as National Bank of Boston unless necessary

f. May abbreviate widely known initials; e.g., F.B.I. or C.I.A.

3. If original case is renumbered cite by original page only

4. Unreported cases

a. Each case has unique identification by docket number

b. Note full date of the decision

c. Note the court of the decision

C. Federal court cases - Supreme Court                                     ^Top^

1. Cite all three U. S. Supreme Court citations, official citation must be cited first.

2. United States Reports

a. Official publication of the U. S. government

b. Cite as U. S.

c. Star paged by the other unofficial/commercial reporters, including electronic resources

3. Supreme Court Reporter

a. Unofficial commercial reporter published by West

b. Cite as S.Ct.

4. United States Supreme Court Reports Lawyers' Edition

a. Unofficial commercial reporter published by Lawyers' Cooperative

b. Cite as L.Ed.

D. Federal court cases - Courts of Appeals and District Courts    ^Top^

1. Courts of Appeals

a. Decisions are published in Federal Reporter published by West

b. Decisions of other federal courts

c. Cite to the reporter system only

d. No unofficially published reporter

e. Cite as F. or F.2d

f. May include some short history

2. Federal court cases - District Courts

a. Decisions are published in Federal Supplement published by West

b. Federal District court cases and miscellaneous federal courts

c. Cite to the reporter system only

d. no unofficially published reporter

e. cite F.Supp

E. State court cases                                                                       ^Top^

1. Published in the regional reporters published by West and state reports

2. Official reports published by many states, some states designate West regional reporters as the official reporter

3. Blanks are used if the case is not yet reported

a. __________Pa.__________, 368 A. 2d 451 (1991)

b. __________Pa.__________, __________A.2d__________(1991)

c. If case has not been published, cite as unreported case with docket number

d. Can cite to electronic reports, LEXIS or WESTLAW

F. Citation policy                                                                    ^Top^

1. Name of case designated by underline or in italics

2. Individual court may have citation policy

3. States may have citation formbook (Texas Green Book)

4. Legal office may have its own policy

5. If in doubt, rely on Harvard Book of Citations (The Blue Book: A Uniform System of Citation)