Advanced Legal Citation

Different types of law

When people think about laws, they may remember School House Rock and a bill  passed by Congress, eventually being signed into law. However, there are other types of law, and regulations which carry the force of law.

  • Statutory Law
    • is law created through legislative process. Statutes are codified, organized and arranged in topics (titles). Citing codes is straightforward once you learn the format and abbreviations. See the Basic Legal Citation guide.
  • Case Law
    • The judiciary does not initiate law, but determines precedence and constitutionality. It can overturn legislative law. See the Basic Legal Citation guide.
  • Regulatory or Administrative Law
    • These are regulations set by executive agencies. Regulations are said to carry the the force of law. The regulations first appear in the Federal Register and may go though many stages. Once regulations are codified, organized and arranged by subject, they are published in the Code of Federal Regulations. Executive agencies are also responsible for many government documents, including agency reports.

Citing case law and codes is discussed in the Basic Legal Citation Guide. This guide covers Regulatory law and special examples related to legislative law, such as congressional hearings.

Advanced Style Help


The University of Nebraska has a good online guide for Citing Government Documents in APA with plenty of examples.

The APA Style Blog is the official online companion to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition. The blog is searchable, and will give general advice on making references when there is no guidance from the Manual.

You can contact APA Style Experts from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday, at


The University of Nevada at Reno has a thorough list of MLA examples for Government Information.


  • Examples for this guide are based on the websites listed.
  • Reference/Work Cited entries are typically formatted in hanging indents. Please remember to make that change in your own document. Indents are not used in this guide due to formatting issues.
Last Update: 17 Nov 09:38 | Tagged with: Blue Book APA MLA