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An Introduction to The Bluebook

Overview

Rule 10 governs citations to cases and court filings. Several Tables are also relevant:

  • Table 1 (T1) (United States Jurisdictions) and Table 2 (T2) (Foreign Jurisdictions) covers which reporters to cite to and how to format those citations. 
    • A reporter is a publication of court opinions arranged in chronological order and usually specific to a jurisdiction or a region. For instance, California Supreme Court opinions are published in at least two of the following three reporters: the Pacific Reporter, the California Reports (the official reporter), and West's California Reporter. The California section of T1.3 prefers that CA Supreme Court opinions be cited to the Pacific Reporter when possible.
  • Table 6 (T6) (Case Names and Institutional Authors in Citations) lists words that should be abbreviated in case name citations.
  • Table 7 (T7) (Court Names) lists abbreviations for court names in case citations.
  • Table 10 (T10) (Geographical Terms) lists abbreviations for jurisdictions in case citations.

To construct short form citations for cases, refer to Rule 10.9.

Example case or court filing citations:

California Supreme Court case

People v. Anderson, 493 P.2d 880, 881 (Cal. 1972).

*P.2d refers to Pacific Reporter 2nd. Table T1 lists the Pacific Reporter as the preferred reporter for California Supreme Court cases.

*Table T10.1 notes that California should be abbreviated as Cal.

Unreported California Court of Appeals case

In re Dylan M., Nos. G041042, G041229, 2009 WL 1879230, at *2 (Cal. Ct. App. June 30, 2009).

*See Rule 10.8.1(a) for citing to pending and unreported cases available in commercial databases.

U.S. Supreme Court filing (case not yet decided)

Reply of Petitioners at 4, Liu v. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 18-1501 (U.S. Sept. 18, 2019), https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/liu-v-securities-and-exchange-commission/ (follow "Reply of petitioners Charles C. Liu, et al. filed" hyperlink).

*Rule 10.8.3 governs citations to briefs, court filings, and transcripts. Because this case had not yet been decided when this citation was constructed, you will also need to consult Rule 10.5(c), which addresses pending cases. The U.S. abbreviation comes from Table T7 on Court Names. Finally, the URL is formatted according to Rule 18.2.2(d).