A Brief Guide to Legal Citations in APA Style

 

Law reviews

follow normal APA style for journals & magazines. 

Be aware that APA style for citing materials retrieved online is changing again.  Basically, if you have a DOI number use it, otherwise follow format guidelines.

Decisions, statutes, codes, etc.

For legal decisions, statutes, codes and other strictly legal formats, APA follows the style of The Bluebook:  A Uniform System of Citation.   The library has a copy:  REF KF245.Z9 U5.  There is also an extensive guide available online from the Cornell Law School by Peter W. Martin. http://www.law.cornell.edu/citation/

Legal Abbreviations:

Guide to Common Legal Abbreviations from Southern Illinois University Law Library

Citation format follows:  APA Style Manual, Appendix D Reference to Legal Materi

 

For each citation you need:

 

Digests

Digests are the law school equivalents of encyclopedias – they don’t use them.  Because of this, there isn’t a specific format.  I called the Law library at the U and after talking to the librarians, we came up with this compromise between APA and legal style.

Citation from Supreme Court Digests found on LexisNexis:

Reference list:

Regulation of use of public forum,   86 L.Ed. Digest Topic sec. 938  (LexisNexis 2004).

 

In text as note format :

 

Regulation of use of public forum (2004)

 

Court decisions

Lexis/Nexis gives a number of options for citations in court cases.  In general, use the first one.

 

For example:               LOVELL v. CITY OF GRIFFIN
                                               No. 391
                          SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
              303 U.S. 444; 58 S. Ct. 666; 82 L. Ed. 949; 1938 U.S. LEXIS 297

Use 303 U.S. 444 in the citation.  Do not use the LEXIS citation unless there is no other option.

Format:

 

Name v. Name, Volume Source Page (Court date)

NOTE:  Use the abbreviated case name.  If you don't know what the abbreviated name is, find the case on Lexis/Nexis.  The linked name that takes you to the case will be the abbreviated name.

 

Examples:

Reference list:  (from Utah Court of Appeals)

State v. Kingston, Utah  App 103 (LexisNexis 2002).

 

NOTE:  For a paper where the preceding cases were important, there is a special format that includes the reference to a previous case.  Check out the  APA Style Manual, Appendix D Reference to Legal Materials for examples.

 

In text as note:

State v. Kingston (2002)

 


 

Reference list:  (from Utah Supreme Court)

 

Winn et al. v. Romney,  63 Utah 120 (LexisNexis  1923).

In text as note: 

Winn et  al.  v. Romney (1923)

NOTE:  et al.  stands for et alia, (or et alii or et aliae, depending on gender) so the period ALWAYS goes after the L.


 

Reference list:  (from U.S. District Court)

United States v.  Cleveland,  56 F. Supp. 890 (D. Utah LexisNexis 1944).  (NOTE:  The D. Utah, means the U.S. District Court – Utah.)

 

In text as note: 

United States v.  Cleveland (1944)


 

 

Reference list:  (from U.S. Court of Appeals)

White v. Utah,  41 Fed. Appx. 325 (10th Cir. LexisNexis 2002)

 

In text as note: 

White v. Utah (2002)


Reference list:  (from  U.S. Supreme Court)

 

Ginzburg et al. v. United States, 383 U.S. 463 (LexisNexis  1966).

In text as note: 

Ginzburg et al. v. United States (1966)


 

Legislation

Statutes – laws arranged chronologically by year enacted.

Codes – laws arranged by subject.  It is common to cite a law from a code.

Format: 

topic section (§) XXX (year)

 


Examples from code: 

Reference list:  (From the Utah Code Annotated)

Utah Technology Governance Act,  Utah Code Ann. § 63F-1-101  (2008)

In text as note:

Utah Technology Governance Act (2008)  2008 is date of publication, not necessarily date of act.


 

Reference list:  (From the Federal Code)

Registration of lobbyists,  2 U.S.C.S  § 1603

In text as note:

Registration of lobbyists (2008)


 

Examples:  Public law:

May use popular title or actual title:

For example: 

 

Americans with Disabilities Act OR Equal Opportunity for Individuals with Disabilities

Reference list: 

 

Narcotics Penalties and Enforcement Act of 1986, Pub. L. No. 99-570, § 1002, 100 Stat. 3207-2 (1986).

In text as note:

 

Narcotics Penalties and Enforcement Act (1986)


 

For legislation, enacted and not enacted, resolutions, committee reports, etc. see APA style manual and check styles for government information.