Legal Citation: Examples
How to read legal citation (Locating the Law: A Handbook for Non-Law Librarians by Southern California Association of Law Libraries)
Parts of a legal citation.
Ex.Li v. Yellow Cab Co. (1975) 13 Cal.3d 804, 119 Cal.Rptr. 858, 532 P.2d 1126.
What does this mean? Let’s take it apart.
- Basically: the official version of this 1975 California Supreme Court case is found in Volume 13 of the California Reports, 3rd series at page 804. Unofficial versions appear in Volume 119 of the California Reporter and Volume 532 of the Pacific Reporter, 2nd
- So for the official version:
- Volume= 13
- Reporter= California Reports 3rd Series
- Page= Beginning at page 804
The citations given after the first, official cite are known as unofficial or parallel citations. The text of the opinion is the same in all sources, whether they are designated as official or unofficial.
Here are some examples:
- Lyle v. Warner Bros., 38 Cal. 4th 264, 132 P.3d 211, 42 Cal. Rptr. 3d 2 (2006)
- Li v. Yellow Cab Co. 13 Cal.3d 804, 119 Cal.Rptr. 858, 532 P.2d 1126 (1975)
How to cite in your paper:
- First time you use it in your paper enter the Full Citation
- Ex: Lyle v. Warner Bros., 38 Cal. 4th 264, 132 P.3d 211, 42 Cal. Rptr. 3d 2 (2006).
- Ex: Brown v. Helvering, 291 U.S. 193, 203 (1934).
- After that, you can use the Short Form Citations
- Ex: Lyle, 38 Cal. 4th 264 at page number you are quoting to.
- Ex: Brown, 291 U.S. at 203.
- OR: 291 U.S. at 203.
- OR: Id. at 203.
- The short form should include an identifiable portion of the case name unless it appears in the passage supported by the citation.
Examples Taken from Cornell Legal Information Institute: Basic Legal Citation
Citing CACI Jury Instructions
- Cite the book: Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2011)
- Cite instructions: “CACI No. _________.”
- Cite verdict forms: “CACI No. VF- _________.”
Wilson, 503 U.S. at 334-36.
Citing Unpublished Opinions
Georgetown Law Library Bluebook Guide
Legal Research: How to Read a Legal Case
Reading a legal case can be confusing and frustrating. The articles below should help you learn what is important to take from a legal decision.