Law and Legal Research

What is a Legal Citation?

A legal citation refers to a specific legal source, such as a statute, a reported case, a regulation, or a journal article. The basic format includes the volume number, Abbreviated title of the source, and the beginning page or section number(s). The citation may also include the year an opinion was rendered or the source was

 

Examples

Case Citations

 

A case citation contains the parties, volume number, source and beginning page number of the case. 

 

Example: 

Citation: Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)

Translation: Brown versus Board of Education, volume 347 United States Reports, beginning on page 483, decided in 1954. 

 

Statutory Citations

 

A Federal statute contains the title, source and section number. 

 

Example: 

Citation: 42 U.S.C § 405(a)

Translation: Title 42 of the United States Code section 405(a)

 

A Florida statute contains source and section number  

Example:

Citation: § 857.102, Fla. Stat. (1998) 

Translation: Section 857.102 of the Florida Statutes

 

Regulatory Citations

 

A regulation includes the title number, source, section number and year of publication

 

Example:

Citation: 42 CFR § 124.501 (1991)

Translation: Volume 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 124.501, published in 1991. 

 

Citations from Periodical Articles

 

A periodical citation includes the volume number,  source, page number of first page of the article and year published/

 

Example:

            Citation: 75 Ind. L.J. 167 (2000)

            Translation: Volume 75 of Indiana Law Journal, beginning on page 167, published in
             2000.

 

Statutory Citations

A Federal statute contains the title, source and section number. 

Example: 

Citation: 42 U.S.C § 405(a)

Translation: Title 42 of the United States Code section 405(a)

A Florida statute contains source and section number  

Example:

Citation: § 857.102, Fla. Stat. (1998) 

Translation: Section 857.102 of the Florida Statutes

Regulatory Citatons

A  regulation includes the title number, source, section number and year of publication

Example:

Citation: 42 CFR § 124.501 (1991)

Translation: Volume 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 124.501, published in 1991. 

 

 

Common Legal Abbrevations