Case NameCase LocationCourt & DateExplanatory InformationShort Form for Cases
AuthorsEditorsTitleEdition, Publisher & DateShort Form for Nonperiodicals
AuthorsTitlePublicationShort Form for Periodicals
This is the "Short Form for Cases" page of the "Introduction to "The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation"" guide.
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Introduction to "The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation"   Tags: alta, bluebook, law review, legal citation, legal writing  

Last Updated: Oct 17, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Short Form for Cases Print Page

Quick References

Case Short Form
Short Forms for Cases.............R10.9
Id. Rules, Generally...................R4.1

Case Name Abbreviations.............T6


Typeface Conventions

If only one party name is used in a short form case citation, the name is italicized.


General Rules for Short Form Case Citation

A short form citation may be used to identify a case that has previously been cited in full. Typically, the court and date are omitted and a pinpoint citation is given. However, the shortened name must be unambiguous and readily identify the case being referred to.

Generally - One party's name (or a shorter version of the name) may be used if the reference is unambiguous. If only one name is used, the name is italicized.

Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. at 585.
Youngstown, 343 U.S. at 585.
Id. at 585.

Common Litigants - If only one party name is being used, avoid using a geographical name or common litigant.

NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson, 357 U.S. 449, 464 (1958).
Patterson, 357 U.S. at 464.
, 357 U.S. at 464.

Law Review Footnotes - Short form may only be used for a case cited within the same footnote or if it has been cited within the five previous footnotes. Otherwise a full citation is required. See Rule 4.1 for guidance on the use of "id." within citations.


Short Form Case Abbreviations

What should you abbreviate when short citing a case?

  • Words in Table 6 and Rule 10.2.1(c)
  • Common acronyms in Rule 6.1(b) (e.g. NAACP, FCC)
  • Procedural phrases (e.g. In reex rel.)

What NOT to abbreviate:

  • "United States" or geographical units listed in Table 10 if the full name of the party
  • Any word not listed in Rule 10.2.1(c) if the citation is in a textual sentence


Law review text and footnotes are considered separately for purposes of short form citation. Only refer to a case name by its short form in a textual sentence if the full case citation has been given within the same general discussion.


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