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Reading Legal Citations

Legal citations convey a lot of information about the referred to source in a very compact manner. The more you know about legal citations, the more information you can glean in a very short time.

What's in a Case Citation?

Case citations contain the name of the case (the first named plaintiff and defendant or appellant and appellee), one or more references which indicate the case's location in print case reporters (if the case is reported), the name of the court issuing the decision (if not identifiable from the name of the reporter) and the date of the decision. 

Unreported decisions need additional identifying information including the docket number and exact date of the decision.

Vendor neutral citations give pinpoint cites by paragraph number, rather than page number.

Case Citation Examples

Chart showing the parts of case citationsChart showing different parts of case citations