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Citation Styles Playbook

The purpose of this playbook is to help you cite the sources used in your academic research.

Introduction

  • To cite legal materials in APA, you will use a format that is very similar to the Bluebook citation style, a style used by law professionals and law students.
  • If you already have a Bluebook citation for a source, use that citation in your APA References list.
  • Some court decisions are published in multiple reporters, and citations will include information for all those places. This is called parallel citations.
  • When a work has parallel citations, include all of them in your References list entry.
  • Most legal sources begin with the title of the work, so your in text citations will include that title and the year
    • (Americans With Disabilities Act, 1990)
    • (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954)
  • If you retrieved a case from an online source (such as the U.S. Supreme Court), place the URL at the end of the citation as with other APA citations.
  • Below you will find examples for typical citations. Before citing your source, identify what type it is (case law, statute, etc.), then find the example for your type of source below, then follow the model to cite your source.
  • For help citing legal materials, ask a librarian, or consult a copy of the Bluebook.

Case Law

Examples of APA style legal citations.

U.S. Supreme Court case,

with a page number

Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954). https://www.oyez.org/cases1940-1955/347us483

Parenthetical: (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954)

Narrative: Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

U.S. Supreme Court case,

without a page number

Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S.___(2015). https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf-14556_3204.pdf

Parenthetical: (Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015)

Narrative: Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

U.S. circuit court case

Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 951 F.2nd 1128 (9th Cir. 1991). https://openjurist.org/951/f2d/1128/william-daubert-v-merrell-dow-pharmaceuticals

Parenthetical: (Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 1991)

Narrative: Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (1991)

U.S. district court case

Burriola v. Greater Toledo YMCA, 133 F. Supp. 2nd 1034 (N.D. Ohio, 2001). https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp2/133/1034/2293141/

Parenthetical: (Burriola v. Greater Toledo YMCA, 2001)

Narrative: Burriola v. Greater Toledo YMCA(2001)

U.S. district court

case with appeal

Durflinger v. Artiles, 563 F. Supp. 322 (D. Kan.1981), aff'd, 727 F. 2d 888 (10th Cir. 1984). https://openjurist.org/727/f2d/888/durflinger-v-artiles

Parenthetical: (Durflinger v. Artiles, 1981/1984)

Narrative: Durflinger v. Artiles (1981/1984)

Note: If on appeal a decision is affirmed, the abbreviation aff'd is used between the two components, in italics and set off by commas. If the decision is overturned or reversed, rev'd is used, in italics and set off by commas.

State supreme court case

Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, 17 Cal. 3d 425, 131 Cal. Rptr. 14, 551 P.2d 334 (1976). https://www.casebriefs.com/blog/law/torts/torts-keyed-to-dobbs/the-duty-to-protect-from-third-persons/tarasoff-v-regents-of-university-of-california/

Parenthetical: (Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, 1976)

Narrative: Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California (1976)

State appellate

court case

Texas v. Morales, 826 S.W.2d 201 (Tex. Ct. App. 1992). https://www.leagle.com/decision/19921027826sw2d20111010

Parenthetical: (Texas v. Morales, 1992)

Narrative: Texas v. Morales (1992)

 

Constitutions & Charters

Examples of APA style legal citations.

Article of the U.S.

Constitution

U.S. Const.art. I, § 3.

Parenthetical: (U.S. Const.art. I, § 3)

Narrative: Article I, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution

Article of a state

constitution

S.C. Const. art. XI, § 3.

Parenthetical: (S.C. Const. art. XI, § 3)

Narrative: Article XI, Section 3, of the South Carolina Constitution

Amendment to the

U.S. Constitution

U.S. Const., amend. XIX.

Parenthetical: (U.S. Const., amend. XIX)

Narrative: Amendment XiX to the U.S. Constitution

Repealed amendment to

the U.S. Constitution

U.S. Const. amend. XVIII (repealed 1933).

Parenthetical: (U.S. Const. amend. XVIII, repealed 1933)

Narrative: Amendment XVIII to the U.S. Constitution, repealed in 1933.

U.S. Bill of Rights

U.S. Const. amend. I-X.

Parenthetical: (U.S. Const. amend. I-X)

Narrative: Amendments I-X to the U.S. Constitution

Charter of the

United Nations

U.N. Charter art. 1, para. 3.

Parenthetical: (U.N. Charter art. 1, para. 3)

Narrative: Article 1, paragraph 3, of the United Nations Charter