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  • When using multiple signals, make sure that they appear in the order in which those signals are listed in rule 1.2:
    • Signals that indicate support:
      • [no signal]
      • E.g.,
      • Accord
      • See
      • See also
      • Cf.
    • Signal that suggests a useful comparison:
      • Compare. . . [and] . . . with . . . [and]
    • Signals that indicate contradiction:
      • Contra
      • But See
      • But cf.
    • Signal that indicates background material:
      • See generally
  • Authorities should be ordered in a logical manner, with more helpful or authoritative authorities preceding others in a signal.

Federal Bills and Resolutions - Rule 13.2

Federal Bills

You would only cite federal bills when (1) they are un-enacted or, (2) for legislative history. Otherwise, they are statutes. Also, if there are multiple versions of a bill in the same Congress, you can indicate a date referring to the particular iteration in the parenthetical.

Act name, House Abbreviation; Bill Number, Number of Congress; Section (year).

For example,

The Crofting Act, S. 726, 104th Cong. § 3 (1996)

H.R. 726, 104th Cong. § 3 (1996)

Add the Act Name only if it is particularly relevant or is the Act name is commonly known.

Federal Resolutions

Simple and concurrent resolutions relate to the internal operations of either or both houses. Joint resolutions are required to propose amendments to the Constitution. Indicate in the parenthetical an enactment. Parallel cite to the congressional record or statutes-at-large if it would aid in location.

For example,

S. Res. 144, 106th Cong. (1999)

H.R. Res. 888, 109th Cong. (2004) (enacted)

S. Res. 144, 106th Cong., 100 Cong. Rec. 2393 (1999) (enacted)


Federal Hearings - Rule 13.3

Cite as follows,

Cover title of hearing, Identification of Subcommittee/Committee/Bill Number (if available), Number of Congress, Pinpoint cite (if any) (Year).

For example,

Hearing on Personal Jurisdiction of Private Mercenaries before S. Committee, 108th Cong. 25 (2000).

Info: Citing to page 25 of the hearing transcript.

Also, the identification of subcommittee, etc. may be in the title of the hearing.


State Material - Rule 13

Similar to federal bills and resolutions, except indicate the proper abbreviation for the state legislative body according to Table 9. Include the state in the parenthetical (abbreviated according to Table 10). Follow Table 1 therein if different.


Other areas to note

Reports - read and follow Rule 13.4, for example H.R. Rep. No. 98-877 (1999).

Debates - read and follow Rule 13.5. For Federal debates, use the Congressional Record, for example 111 Cong. Rec. 17 (1989).


Short Forms - See Rule 13.7

When submitting briefs to a court, you will often have to cite to other court documents that are not opinions, e.g. Memorandum, Court Orders, Briefs, Record, etc. These are usually from a judgment in a lower court (for the case you are now briefing for) or court documents produced for the current level of litigation.

Consult Bluepage Rule 10 and 10.8.2 for abbreviation, capitalization, short forms, dates, pinpoints, etc. Note that the date sections in 10.8.3.

For example,

Brief of Petitioner-Appellant at 2006, Suffolk Law School v. Churia, No. 00-0999 (1st Cir. Jan. 17, 2006).

Complaint at 66, Jonah v. Whale, 666 F. 66 (S.D.N.Y. 1966) (No. 34-9876).

Petr. Br. at 6 (Citing court documents within court documents).

Insert a period within the parentheticals for citation sentences, and without for citation clauses. Do not include commas before or after a citation clause. See rule B10.2.

For example,

The dog ran in the rain. (Petr.'s Br. 138.) He did not get wet. (Petr.'s Br. 139.)

The dog ran in the rain (Petr.'s Br. 7) but he did not get wet (Petr.'s Br. 8).

Films and Television - Rule 18.5

Commercially distributed films or television programs are cited as below.

Title (Studio Year).

For example:

Blade Runner (Paramount 1982).

Note, the film title under Law Review should be in small caps. It is unclear about court documents, but I would suggest underlining.


Title (TV Channel Date, Year).

Note, the film title under Law Review should be italicized. It is unclear about court documents, but I would suggest underlining.

For non commercial videos, use:

Medium: Title (person or institution that produced it Year) (location of file).

For example:

Video: Romney Swift Debate 2003 (Suffolk Law School Media Services 2003) (on file with Suffolk Law School media services).


Audio Files - Rule 18.6

Use the same form as for films and television. For short forms, see Rule 18.7.

Follow Rule 16.5

Author (if available), Newspaper Section (if available), Title, Publication, Date, Location

For newspaper locations, use the first page or section in which it occurs. Do not pinpoint cite beyond the first page. If it is unclear which part of the newspaper the source is from or the publishing location add the appropriate information. Underline the title.

For example:

Tom Parfitt, 'Father of the Turkmen' dies 66, Guardian Newspaper (London), December 21, 2006, at A1.

See also consecutively paginated periodicals.

Many state courts require citation to a public domain format (also called medium-neutral format). Public domain format citations do not refer to any commercial source or other reporter in any medium. Instead, they use a consecutively numbered system based on opinions as they are issued from a particular court. Check Table 1 for which states use public domain format and what form it takes. Always check local court rules when submitting any court documents.

Many states have created a system that does not fit the model below in (1), and you should follow whatever the jurisdiction in Table 1 indicates.

(1) The bluebook provides a default citation method with the following elements [rule 10.3.3].

case name, year; state abbreviation; court abbreviation; sequential number of the decision, pinpoint if relevant

(2) When referencing specific material, pinpoint to the appropriate paragraph(s) and not page numbers (normal method in commercial and official reporters).

(3) See table 10 for state abbreviations, see table 7 for court abbreviations

(4) Parallel cite to a regional reporter if available.

(5) If an opinion has been deemed "unpublished" (i.e. not in a reporter), then put a U after the sequential number.

General examples:

Richard v. Phillip Augustus, 2002 ND 145, ¶¶ 12-14, 54 N.W.2d 456, 460-62

Lusignan v. Conrad, 2003 ND Ct. App. 44, 98 N.W.2d 46

Douglas v. Percy, 2004 ND Ct. App. 34U

So in the first example, the case was the 145th in 2002 from North Dakota's highest court, with a parallel citation to the Northwestern Reporter. There are pinpoint cites, paragraphs for the public domain format and pages for the commercial reporter.

An example not using (1),

Bruce v. Longshanks, 2002-NMCA-333, 46 P.2d 900

General rules of thumb

(1) Though there are limitations, short forms are used to prevent repetitive citations to the same authority. Remember to always provide the FULL citation the first time you cite anything before using short forms.

(2) A short form may be used when the subsequent citation is in the same general area as the original full citation, and the reader can easily identify and locate the original citation. Remember, that if the original cite is too far away then do not use a short form. The key is to be as an unambiguous as possible.

(3) All short forms must include a pinpoint citation, usually with some form of "at."

(4) For periodicals (Rule 16.7, or Bluepage Table 2), you should use either an id. or a supra. In court documents and legal memoranda, simply insert the author or institutional name (and part of the title if there are more than one work by the same author), supra, and then a pinpoint cite. See the examples below.

Cases [Rule 10.9]

Full Citation

Bamberg v. SG Cowen, 236 F. Supp. 2d 79 (D. Mass. 2002).

Acceptable Short Forms

Bamberg, 236 F. Supp. 2d at 80 OR 236 F. Supp. 2d at 80 OR Id. at 80.

Notes on Typeface

Underline the Party Name or any Ids.

Statutes [Rule 12.9]

Full Citation

Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), 28 U.S.C. § 1350 (2006).

Acceptable Short Forms

§ 1350 OR 28 U.S.C. § 1350 OR Alien Tort Claims Act, § 1350 OR ATCA, § 1350

Periodicals/Books [Rule 16.7, or B8.2]

Full Citation

Deana Pollard, Banning Corporal Punishment: A Constitutional Analysis, 52 Am. U.L. Rev. 447(2002).

Acceptable Short Forms

Pollard, supra note 2, at 450-51 OR Id. at 450-51

Notes on Typeface

Underline supra (but not the comma) and any further identifications that are from the title. Underline the id. (including the period point).

Id. [Rule 4.1]


(1) Students often ask about ids, and how and where they can be used. Just keep in mind that ids are used to save space, but should never get in the way of clear source citation. An id. can be used for any type of authority.

(2) The immediately previous citation must contain only one authority. When the subsequent citation refers to the same pinpoint cite, then merely use id. by itself. If there is a different pinpoint cite, but still the same sole authority, then use an "at." If there is a parallel citation, pinpoint both reporters.

(3) Unless beginning a cite, id. will always have a lower case "i."

For example,

1. Bamberg v. SG Cowen, 236 F. Supp. 2d 79 (D. Mass. 2002).

2. Id. at 80.

3. Arch v. Pollock, 23 Mass. 34, 456 N.E. 13 (2000).4. Id. at 36, 456 N.E. at 15.5. Id.


Supra and Infra [Rules 3.5 & 4.2]

(1) Supra is used to refer back to material that has already appeared in the text (i.e. footnotes or endnotes). Infra refers to material that will appear later in the piece.

(2) Supra should not be used for cases, statutes, constitutions, legislative material, restatements, model codes, or regulations.

(3) Do not supra back to another supra, but only to the full citation of the authority (and the same for infras).

(4) Supra should, first, refer to the last name of the author or institutional name or title of work, in that order, and then "supra," then the footnote or endnote number and the pinpoint cite. Italicize or underline supra depending on whether its a court document or law review article.

For example,

28. Hume, supra note 2, at 89.

(5) Infra is used to refer a reader forward to subsequent material. Thus, an infra will refer to page numbers, parts or footnotes.

For example,

23. See infra pp. 121-24.

24. See infra Parts IV-V.

25. See infra notes 2-3 and accompanying text.

Signals can be broken into four types, those that: support the proposition, offer a useful comparison to other sources, indicate a contradiction, or indicate general background material to the proposition. See also order of signals.

Remember to underline all signals.

Support – Rule 1.2(a)

(1) "No signal" is used when the authority cited, (a) directly states the proposition, (b) identifies the source of a quotation, or (c) identifies an authority directly employed in the text (i.e. “the court in Example employed a strict scrutiny standard”).

(2) E.g. is used when a multitude of cases could be employed to state a proposition, e.g. a standard of review, so only a few are required.
(3) Accord can be used to refer to two or more other authorities that support the proposition too, but only when the text refers to an authority or quotation. (Often used for referring to extra-jurisdictional authorities referring to the same proposition).

(4) See is often unclear to writers. All that can be said is that “see” should be used when the proposition in the text is not directly stated in the cited authority, but there is a clear and inferential jump from the authority cited and the writer’s proposition. In other words, the authority does not blatantly support your position, but there is a clear (to varying degrees of certainty) inferential leap to your proposition.

(5) See also is used when a source has already been discussed used in conjunction with see and the writer wishes to add more authorities. See also should be accompanied by parentheticals explaining how these additional sources are relevant or different.

(6) Cf. can be used to cite an authority that supports a different proposition, but still lends support to your textual proposition – and hence parentheticals explaining the analogy should always be present.

Comparisons – Rule 1.2(b)

Not used as much as support signals, but can be useful. When there are two lines of propositions that will offer support or illustrate a proposition (e.g. for jurisdictional reasons, varying or unclear opinions, or differing scholarship), then a writer can use compare and with.

Contradictions – Rule 1.2 (c)

(1) Contra should be used to indicate that a “no signal” signal is directly contradicted by another “no signal” authority.

(2) But see is used to show an authority that is clearly supporting a contradicting proposition to what would be used for a see signal.

Background Information – Rule 1.2(d)

See generally is a tool used to signal other materials that would provide helpful background material, e.g. materials that would help explain a non-legal aspect, like the science behind DNA testing.

Order of Signals within a Cite – Rule 1.3

Within signals, follow the list in Rule 1.2 (i.e. no signal, then accord, etc), and for authorities within a string citation, follow Rule 1.4.

Student-Written Law Review Materials [Rule 16.6.2]

These are cited in the same manner as other articles except that when it is signed by a student it must be so indicated. A student signed work is one where the work is credited to a student or to a student that co-wrote it (as determined anywhere in the work, i.e. beginning, end, etc). If it is student written, insert whether it was a "Comment," "Note," etc. after the author's name. If a work is still student-written but unsigned, then omit the author name (as there will be none).

For example,

Gauis Julius , Note, Why Bar Exams Do Not Test You for Practice, 66 Gla. L.R. 123 (2000).

Symposia, etc. - Rule 16.6.3

When citing to a symposium, colloquium or colloquy directly, then omit any author and insert the appropriate description and cite to the first page.

For example,

Symposium, DVDs in the Modern Legal World, 34 Music L.R. 234 (1990).

If you are citing a work within a symposia, etc., then employ same manner as any other article.

Other Material - 16.6.4 - 17.3

(1) Consult the following rules for other materials: Commentaries - Rule 16.6.4, Multipart Articles - Rule 16.6.5, Institutes/ABA Reports - Rule 16.6.7, Unpublished or Forthcoming materials - Rules 17.1 - 17.2, Working Papers - Rule 17.3.

(2) Take note of Annotations, in particular American Law Reports (aka ALRs), which should be cited according to Rule 16.7.6 as follows. Small caps for A.L.R. and underline the title.

Jason Iskin, Annotation, Commercial Ownership of Soccer Statistics, 17 A.L.R. 3d 879 (2000).


Citation rules for Tax Materials are found throughout the Bluebook - B5.1.5, Rule 12.9.1 and Table 1.2 (under Department of Treasury Regulations).

Internal Revenue Code [Rule 12.9.1]

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) is found in Title 26 of the United States Code. The IRC may be replaced with I.R.C. as follows

I.R.C. § 102 (2009)

Cite the year and publisher as per Rule 12.

Treasury Regulations [Table 1.2]

(1) Cite regulations as "Treas. Reg." and not to title 26 of C.F.R. (where they finally reside). If the regulation is unamended, cite to the year of promulgation. If amended, cite to the year of last amendment. Cite temporary regulations as "Temp."

Treas. Reg. § 1.11-10(c) (1972)

Treas. Reg. § 1.11-10(c) (as amended in 2001)

Temp. Treas. Reg. § 1.11-10(c)

(2) Proposed regulations are printed in the federal register (to allow time for comments, etc). Cite in parallel to the federal register and preface treasury regulation with "Prop."Prop. Treas. Reg. § 123, 55 Fed. Reg. 8876, 8901 (Apr. 2, 1997)

If a proposed treasure regulation becomes final, it is published in the Cumulative Bulletin and then the C.F.R. (see (1) above). In the cumulative bulletin, they are then given Treasury Decisions (T.D.) numbers.

IRS Materials cite to the Cumulative Bulletin & Internal Revenue Bulletin

Revenue Rulings [Table 1.2]

Revenue rulings are issued by the IRS. They provide some precedent and reflect current IRS policies (vis-a-vis a specific law and fact pattern) until over ruled by statute, regulation, federal tax court or another revenue ruling.

Cite to the Cumulative Bulletin first, then the Internal Revenue Bulletin. The first two or four digits refers to the year and the second number refers to the chronological order of issuance.

Rev. Rul. 99-109, 1999-3 C.B. 23

Rev. Rul. 89-999, 1989-42 I.R.B. 10

Rev. Rul. 2007-2, 2000-45 C.B. 34

Private Letter Rulings (often abbreviated elsewhere as a PLR) [Table 1.2]

Similar to revenue rulings but with no  value and in response to a taxpayer's written request. Through legislative action there are now open to public inspection upon request.

I.R.S. Priv. Ltr. Rul. 99-23-011 (Nov. 5, 1990)

Revenue Procedure [Table 1.2]

Revenue Procedures are issued by the IRS and deal with broad internal technical or procedural instructions. Same precedential value as revenue rulings. Cite like revenue rulings (with sequence of sources) but change "Rev. Rul." to "Rev. Proc."

Rev. Proc. 97-123, 1998-4 C.B. 24

Other IRS Documents

Technical Advice Memorandum (often abbreviated as a TAM) [Table 1.2]

Written advice by the national office upon the request of a district or area director on a technical or procedural question.

I.R.S. Tech. Adv. Mem. 78-09-009 (Nov. 5, 1990)

General Counsel Memoranda (GCM) [Table 1.2]

GCMs contain reasoning used in proposed rulings and TAMs.

I.R.S. Gen. Couns. Mem. 89,900 (Nov. 5, 1990)

Tax Cases [Table 1.2]

There are three courts of original jurisdiction for tax cases.

United States Tax Court

The United States Tax Court hears cases that dispute an additional tax liability which the taxpayer has not yet paid. Decisions are appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Cases are always versus the commissioner. Between 1924 and 1942, the U.S. Tax Court was known as the Board of Tax Appeals, from 1942-1970 as the Tax Court of the United States and thereafter the U.S. Tax Court.

Charlemagne v. Commissioner, 88 B.T.A. 123 (1940)

Gustavus Vasa v. Commissioner, 78 T.C. 123 (1990)

Tax Court memorandum decisions are those issued based on factual situations dealing with well settled legal issues.

Matthias Cornivus v. Commissioner, 56 T.C.M. 234 (1991)

United States Court of Federal Claims

The United States Court of Federal Claims hears cases in which a taxpayer has paid the liability and is seeking a refund. Decisions are appealed to the Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit. Cases are always against the United States. The court was formed in 1982 as the United States Claims Court (succeeding the trial division of the U.S. Court of Claims). From 1992 onward the court was renamed as the United States Court of Federal Claims.
Duke of Montrose v. United States, 23 Ct. Cl. 234 (1978)

Duke of Argyll v. United States, 11 Cl. Ct. 34 (2001)

United States District Court

The District Court hears cases in a taxpayer has paid the liability and is seeking a refund. Cite to the Federal Supplement.

Common Tax Reporters and other Abbreviations

Cite to an official reporter if therein, else you can use a secondary reporter.

Official Reporters

Court Reporter Abbreviation
U.S. Tax Court United States Tax Court Reports (post-1942) T.C.
Board of Tax Appeals (1924-1942) B.T.A.
U.S. Court of Federal Claims U.S. Court of Claims Reports (pre-1982) Ct. Cl.
United State Claims Court Reporter (post-1982) Cl. Ct.
U.S. District Court Federal Supplement F. Supp.

Other Reporters

Reporter Abbreviation Courts Reported
American Federal Tax Reports A.F.T.R., A.F.T.R.2d All federal courts except the U.S. Tax Court. Includes tax cases omitted from F. Supp.
United State Tax Cases U.S.T.C. Same as the A.F.T.R.
Tax Court Reported Decisions Tax Ct. Dec. U.S. Tax Court

Treaties - Rule 21.4


Name of Agreement, Parties to Agreement, Subdivisions (if required), Date of Signing, Treaty Source


Convention Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of French Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation And the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and Capital, U.S.-Fr., Aug. 31, 1994, S. Treaty Doc. No. 103-32

(1) Name of Agreement

The name should include both the form and subject. The form is something like "agreement," "convention," "protocol," "treaty," etc. Only insert the first form word in the treaty.

The subject is whatever appears on the agreement title, in full.

If the subject is long or known generally by another name, at the end of the first full cite you can enter "[hereinafter XXXX]."

(2) Parties to Agreement: Abbreviate country names according to table 10. If the United States is a party, always put it first. Otherwise, all parties are listed alphabetically.

(3) Subdivisions - add specific subdivision(s) if required, else leave empty

(4) The full date of signature, else see rule for other variations.

(5) Treaty Source, Rule 21.4.5

This is the most difficult segment. There are myriad variations depending on party and number of parties. See table below.

To figure out in which source a treaty is located, see the following link. Pick the source highest in the order of preference.

Signatories Number of Signatories Treaty Source (in order of preference)
Includes the U.S. Three of fewer -U.S.T. or Stat.
-Senate Treaty Document
-Dep. State Press Release
-I.L.M. (unofficial source)
-Another unofficial source
-Book or other periodical
Includes the U.S. Four or more parties Parallel Cite.

First, to one of the above, then second, to an international organization source, e.g. U.N.T.S., O.A.S., etc.

If either is unavailable, use an unofficial source.
Does not include the U.S. Any -Any source published by international organization

-Official source of one signatory

Other International Materials (cases, arbitrations, UN, etc)

Other international material is varied and complex. Most follow a similar pattern, but not all. Below is a table that directs you to the proper Rule for differing material and common sources for the material. To find these materials in their various sources, see this link.

International Material Blue Book Rule Common Print Sources with Blue Book Abbreviation
International Court of Justice [I.C.J.] 21.5.1. I.C.J.
Permanent Court of International Justice [P.C.I.J.] 21.5.1 P.C.I.J.
Court of Justice of the European Communities [E.C.J.] 21.5.2. E.C.R.
[European] Court of First Instance [Ct. First Instance] 21.5.2. E.C.R.
European Court of Human Rights 21.5.3 Eur. Ct. H.R.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 21.5.4. Inter-Am. C.H.R.
East Africa Court of Appeal 21.5.5. E. Afr. L. Rep.
Arbitrations 21.6 & Table 5
United Nations 21.7 Myriad (usually to official records)
European Union Council publications Legislative Acts, COM documents, Debates, EU Treaties, Reports 21.8.2 O.J., J.O. or COM
World Trade Organization 21.8.4 WT


Western Sahara, Advisory Opinion, 1975 I.C.J. 12 (October 16).

Council Directive 2001/18 2001 O.J. (L 106) 1 (EC).

Other International Material - Foreign Materials

Table 2 is the primary source for foreign materials. It is broken down by country and sub-divisions within a country, i.e. United Kingdom. Consult Rule 20 when a citation requires using a language other than English or when a jurisdiction is not evident.