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Researching Case Law   Tags: 1-l, cases, citators, headnotes, keycite, law, legal research, shepards  

This guide is designed to be an introduction to cases and case law research.
Last Updated: Sep 22, 2014 URL: http://guides.libraries.uc.edu/cases Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Citation Format

Bluebook

Rule 10 of the Bluebook (19th ed.) governs the citation of cases.

The citation should include the following:

Elements

  • Case Name - first listed parties on each side (italicized or underlined) (use T. 6)
  • Volume
  • Reporter (see T. 1)
  • Page
  • Court and jurisdiction (see T. 1, T.7, T.10)
  • Year
  • Subsequent History (if applicable)

Example:

United States v. Prince Line, Ltd., 189 F.2d 386, 387 (2d Cir. 1951).

Explanation:

  • Case Name:  Note there is no abbreviation of United States per 10.2.2.  Abbreviate Ltd. Per R. 10.2.1(c), T.6. 
  • Reporter:  Abbreviate the F.2d reporter per R. 6 (single adjacent caps), R. 6.2(b)(ii) (no superscript, use 2d instead of 2nd) & T.1.
  • Court:  Abbreviate Second Circuit per R. 6, T.1, T.7.  Note that there is no superscript per R. 6.2(b)(ii).

ALWD

Rule 12 of the ALWD Citation Manual (4th ed.) covers the citation of cases.

Elements

  • Case Name - first listed parties on each side (italicized or underlined)
  • Volume
  • Reporter (see chart 12.1, local court rules - Appendix 2, )
  • Page
  • Court and jurisdiction (see Appendices 1 and 4 for court abbreviations)
  • Year
  • Subsequent History (if applicable)

Example

United States v. Prince Line, Ltd., 189 F.2d 386, 387 (2d Cir. 1951).

 

Overview

Legal materials can fall into two different categories:  (1) Primary and (2) Secondary.  Secondary sources are about the law.  They explain, analyze, interpret, discuss, and cite to primary sources. Primary sources are the law themselves.  Cases are a primary source. They are judicial opinions written to resolve a controversy between two or more parties. Courts have a hierarchy and the authoritative value of a case can depend on which court is writing the opinion.  Cases are published chronologically in reporters and now, in databases and on websites.

 

Research Process Flowchart

Associate Director of Public & Research Services

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Susan Boland
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Robert S. Marx Law Library
University of Cincinnati College of Law
PO Box 210040
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0040

513-556-4407
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