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Introduction to "The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation": Short Form for Cases

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.
Not: NAACP
, 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

Tips

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.