BLUEBOOK CITATION STYLE FOR LEGAL WRITING
Citations are a part of the main body of the text that usually provides reference for sources from where a particular piece of information has been used or taken. Bluebook is a common style for citation of materials in the field of law. It is the preferred style in most of the law colleges as well as in the drafting of actual memorials. Listed down are the styles that must be followed:
- Citing statutes, laws and codes-
To cite a federal statute, the following structure is to be followed:
- The act’s title
- The source from where the statute, law or code was found
- In case of laws, the year in which the law was implemented must be mentioned and in
case of codes, the year in which the code was published
- The reference of the chapters or sections must also be stated
In the case of state statutes, a similar structure is followed. In case a statute has been repealed or amended, the year in which it occurred must be indicated in brackets at the end of the citation.
STRUCTURE: – Act title, Source & Year
- Constitutions: –
When citing a provision form the constitution, no short form other than id should be used for constrictions. For citing an article that has been amended or repealed, the year must be mentioned in parentheses at the end of the citation.
STRUCTURE: – Short form of constitution cited, abbreviation of article/amendment, article/amendment number, section symbol, section number.
Few abbreviations helpful for citation of constitution are as follows:
EXAMPLE: – India Const. art. 256, cl 3.
- Cases: –
The four main elements to cite a case includes: –
- The name of the case that is being cited
- The source from where the case can be found
- The court that decided the case
- The year in which the case was decided
While writing the name of the case, no middle, first names or initials should be written. Only the last named of the parties that has been listed on each side should be mentioned.
Parentheticals can be used to indicate whether a concurring or dissenting opinion has been cited. This must be written after the year parenthesis.
EXAMPLE: – Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 144 (2000) (Breyer, J., dissenting)
- Books and Monographs: –
To cite a book according to the bluebook style, the structure is as follows: –
- Volume number of the book
- The Author/s of the book
- Title of the book being cited
- The year of publication/edition name in the parenthesis
EXAMPLE: – Charles Dickens, Bleak House, 20, (1853)
In case the short form of the book is to be cited, the structure is: STRUCTURE: – Last name of the author, supra, pinpoint. EXAMPLE: – Dickens, supra, 20
- Abbreviations: –
The most used abbreviations used in bluebook style of writing includes:
“In re” which means “petition of”, “in the matter of”
“ex rel” which means “on behalf of”, “on the relation of”
“Id” which means immediately preceding authority. It is the short form of a Latin word Idem
When the first name of the case has been mentioned in the written text, the states, countries
or other geographies must be abbreviated.
EXMAPLE: – Robert William v. Univ. of Wash.
- Reporters: –
The structure for citing a report is: –
Volume No, Short form of the name of the reporter, first page, pinpoint
The range of the pages must be indicted with a dash. For the volume numbers that has more than 3 digits, all the repeated numbers must be dropped except the last two numbers.
- Periodicals: –
The bluebook citation style for citing periodicals is as follows –
- Name of the Author
- The title of the periodical
- Name of publication and first page in abbreviated form
- Publication date in parenthesis
EXAMPLE: – R. H. Coase, The Problem of Social Cost, 3 J.L. & Econ. 1, 1 (1960)
For newspaper articles, the citation style is:
- Name of the author
- Title of the article
- Newspaper’s name
- The date on which the article has been published
EXAMPLE: – Abigail Sullivan Moore, This is Your Brain on Drugs, N.Y. Times, Oct 29,
2014, at A1.
- Online Sources: –
The structure for citing an online source in bluebook style is as follows:
- Name of the Author/r(s)
- Title of that page
- Title of the main page
- Date and time to be put in parenthesis
- URL of the source
In case of parallel citations, an internet source for the printed material may be provided.
Bluebook style of citation is one of the most unique one and it acts as a definite style guide for legal citation. It is very necessary to cite and make a note of all the sources that has been used by one for their research and in collection of data. Acknowledgement of the sources must be made in a proper manner and thus Bluebook citation style must be known.