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Statutory Citation (Rule 12)


                                        (wide variations occur between jurisdictions)

                                                                     Statute (year)


                  Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 183, § 49 (2006) or 44 U.S.C. § 1234 (2000).


                             Court Documents: Nothing is underlined.

                   Law Reviews: Use small caps for the statutory abbreviation.


Statutes - Rule 12

If possible, cite to the official code and/or its supplement. Else, cite to an unofficial code (usually the annotated version), then Lexis or Westlaw, then looseleaf, internet or newspaper, in that order [rule 12.2.1].

Keep the following hints in mind;

(1) Often an act from a legislature is inserted into the official code at myriad places, making it impossible to view it as a whole. When this occurs, you can cite to the public law number, sessions law or statutes at large [rule 10.2.2(a) & 12.4].

(2) The official federal code is the United States Code (U.S.C.). Cite therein if available [see rule 12.3 & table 1]. This includes U.S.C. supplements [see rules 3.1(c), 12.2.1(a) & 12.3.1(e)].

If the statute has not yet been published in the U.S.C. and its supplements, then you can cite to the United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.) or the United States Code Service (U.S.C.S.).

The model for a federal statute is: Title Code § Section (year).

        28 U.S.C. § 1350 (2006)

(3) If you are citing to a specific subdivision or subdivisions of a code section, indicate all the subjections. If you are citing to multiple sections, use §§. Consult rule 3.3 on how to use section and paragraph symbols.

         28 U.S.C. §§ 1350(a)(2)-(c)(2) (2006)

(4) Official titles: Only include an official title when the statute is commonly cited that way, or if the information would aid in the statute's easy identification within a textual setting [rule 12.3.1(a)]. Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), 28 U.S.C. § 1350 (2006).

(5) Note that the Internal Revenue Code, because it is so distinct and commonly cited, has its own special citation form under Rule 12.9.1. Thus instead of 26 U.S.C. § 245 (2006), use I.R.C. § 245 (2006). See also Tax Material.

(6) Each state has its own statutory citation methodology. You should consult Table 1 and look up the jurisdiction in question. Upon finding the appropriate jurisdiction, consult the 'statutory compilations' section. Most will provide the proper citation for both official and unofficial codes, and which to use first . Some larger jurisdictions, like Texas, employ subject-matter codes, e.g. Tex. Agric. Code Ann. § 190 (Vernon 2006).

Note, for certain states you must indicate the publisher in the parenthetical.


Year - Rule 12.3.2

Always cite to the date of the edition you are using. Thus, look to the year on the spine of the volume, the title page, and lastly the copyright year (in that order). If the provision is in a supplement or pocket part, cite to the edition of the supplement or pocket part. If a section is partly updated in the supplement, then cite to both years.

If you find the statute online, technically you have to check the bound volumes (and supplements) for the year.

For example,

           Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93, § 1 (2006)

           Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93, § 1 (Supp. 2007)

           Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93, § 1 (2006 & Supp. 2007).

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