Legal Citations

The Paralegal Resource
July 12, 2013 — 1,971 views  
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Legal Citation is basically a standard language which allows a writer to refer to legal organizations with effective accuracy and generality so that others can follow the references with substantial ease. Abbreviations and special terms are used in this language. Citations help in achieving great reductions in space, generally consumed by numerous references.

Importance of Legal Citations
Legal Citations are a source of authority for your claims about certain laws. Whenever you use legal citations, you are directly referring to the primary source as authority. Once the reader checks the citations and finds the reference to these sources, he can assess the authenticity of the claims you have made. He will also gain fair knowledge on how he could work around the given law and how strong the authority is.

So, citation is not merely a tool, it is also evidence which is needed to support your argument.

It is crucial that a lawyer cites his sources because without citing, his words lack credibility. Proper citing will make the argument stronger by quoting rulings of previous cases as reference. Plagiarizing of research material is also avoided by the usage of citation.

What is Bluebook?

The Bluebook is a reference guide which lays down the most widely used legal citation system in the United States. It has been compiled by the Harvard Law Review Association, The Columbia Law Review, The University of Pennsylvania Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. The most current edition of the Bluebook is the 19th edition. The Bluebook gets its name from the color of its cover--blue.

In the US, The Bluebook is the standard reference for teaching and usage in Law Schools and is also used by many of the federal courts systems. Most justices and law clerks have obtained education from Law Schools which refer to the Bluebook. Other citation systems in the country too are heavily inspired from the Bluebook.

Tips to use the Bluebook for Preparing Legal Citations

The Bluebook can be utilized for effective and efficient citation. It provides for information on several key aspects on citation which are as follows.

  • The first thing to do while using the Bluebook for citation would be to ascertain the type of source you are working it. Common sources include Cases, Statues, Legislative Material, Books and Reports, Periodicals and Electronic media and so on
  • The Bluebook has a quick reference guide both at the front and back which act as a quick reminder of simple citations for popular formats. If you are into law review, then you should consult the reference guide on the front. If you are in legal writing, trial advocacy or a practitioner, then you should consult the reference guide in the back.
  • You should always look into the index to refresh on those rules. This will save you time and frustration.
  • There may be sections of the Bluebook which you may be using more frequently than others. In such an event, tabbing can save you a lot of time and effort.

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