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Legal Citation Guide: Overview


How to Cite Legal Sources for Academic Projects

                            Standard citation styles, such as APA, MLA, Chicago, APSA, etc. defer to the The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation for legal source formatting guidelines. 

The examples on this guide adhere to Bluebook guidelines, but also make note of a citation style's treatment of the documentation when appropriate. This guide provides some of the more commonly cited legal sources. For more complex or obscure examples, consult the Bluebook located on Smith Library's 2nd Floor Quick Reference collection.





Terminology + Examples

Case Law: 

Also known as judicial law; originates in the court system. The courts mediate disputes between parties, and the outcomes are commonly referred to as court decisions.

Examples: Giddeon v. Wainwright ; Engle v. Vitale ; Pennsylvania v. Mimms



The laws Congress makes are referred to as statutes. Laws passed by either Congress or state legislatures are collectively referred to as statutory law. 

Examples: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ; Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012


Law Review:

A journal publication (usually published by a law school or bar association) containing notes and peer-reviewed articles analyzing and evaluating subject areas and developments in the law.

Examples: Kansas City Law Reporter San Francisco Law Review

 Quick Tip: Inserting the section symbol ( § ) in a Word document. 

For a PC:

  1. Click on the “Insert” tab at the top of the screen, so that the Insert ribbon appears.
  2. Click on the “Symbol” button to the far right.
  3. Select the “More Symbols” tab.
  4. Select the “Special Character” tab.
  5. Select the Section symbol.
  6. Click on the “Insert” button

For a Mac: 

  1. Click on the “Insert” tab at the top of the screen, so that the Insert ribbon appears.
  2. Click on the “Advanced Symbol” button all the way to the right.
  3. Select the “Special Character” tab.
  4. Select the Section symbol.
  5. Click on the “Insert” button.


Thank you UNC School of Law's Carolina Blawg for this tip!

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