Basic Legal Citation

Legal Citation Style

Law students are assigned a legal style guide such as the ALWD Citation Manual: A Professional System of Citation (4th ed. 2010) or The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (19th).

Most undergraduate students are assigned an academic style, such as MLA or APA. These styles advise users to follow or consult the Bluebook, but modify the puntuation and formatting. However, all legal citation is based on the same set of principles. If you know what information to pull out from a legal source, you can adapt it to any style.This guide will focus on the most common sources for undergraduate papers: court decisions and codified statutes.

See the Advanced Legal Citation guide for executive agency documents, regulations and hearings.

What do I cite?

Your first question should be, what kind of source do I have?

If you are citing the text of a law or a court case, you never cite the particular instance. That means you don't cite a website for containing the law, you cite the law itself.

If you are citing a summary, analysis or commentary of a law or court case, then you cite that particular instance.

Last Update: 13 Jul 16:58 | Tagged with: law legal citation Bluebook