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Introduction to "The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation": Case Location

Quick References

Case Location
Reporters and Other Sources.....R10.3
Pending & Unreported Cases...R10.8.1
Services.....................................R19
Reporter Abbreviations..................T1

Typeface Conventions

Regular typeface is used for case reporters in both law review and practioner citation formats. Note that the comma separating the case name from the reporter volume is not italicized.

General Rules for Case Location

A case citation typically includes the following:

  1. Volume Number - indicate the volume of the reporter set
  2. Reporter - abbreviated name of the reporter, according to Table 1 (See R6.1(a) for spacing in reporter abbreviations)
  3. Page - page on which the case begins
  4. Pinpoint Page - page on which cited material is found

Swedloff v. Phila. Transp. Co., 187 A.2d 152, 153 (Pa. 1963).

If the case is not available in the official or the preferred unofficial reporter, other sources such as electronic databases and slip opinions may be used. (See R10.3.1). Some common examples include:

United States v. Carlisle, No. 90-2465SI, 1991 U.S. App. LEXIS 5863, at *3 (8th Cir. Apr. 10, 1991) (per curiam).

Simmons v. Brothers, No. 90-627 (D. Mass. Dec. 19, 1990).

Case Location Abbreviations

The spacing rules for reporter abbreviations in Rule 6.1(a) indicate that adjacent single capitals and ordinals are combined with no spaces in between. Longer abbreviations and adjacent single capitals should have a space between them.

S.W.2d
N.C. Ct. App.
Not: F.Supp.

Pinpoint page numbers are separated by a hyphen and always retain at least the last two digits. If the page numbers contain more than two digits, repeated digits can be dropped.

288-90
288-300
Not: 288-290

Tips

Be sure to consult local rules, which trump those found in The Bluebook, concerning parallel citations to regional reporters for state court filings. Law review pieces use the regional reporter, if available.