Skip to main content

Bluebook Citation: Short Forms

Bluebook Quick Reference

B10.2 (p.16):  Bluepages short form reference.

Rule 10.9 (p.115):  Short form rules for cases.

Rule 4.1 (p.78):  Rule for the short form use of "id."

Case Short Form Checklist

Handy reference for correctly using short forms when citing cases.

  • If the case you are citing was cited immediately prior to this one, use "id."
  • If the case was NOT cited immediately prior to this citation, you will use an abbreviated short form.
    • Formulate an acceptable abbreviated short form (one party's name, no name, party name in text).
    • Include the volume and reporter name from the full citation.
  • If you are citing a different page in a case, use the word "at" after the citation followed by a pinpoint page number.

The Basics

Short form allows you to refer to one case several times in a document without having to give the full citation each time.  Once the cite is given in full, you can use a shortened version every time you subsequently mention the case.  Rule 10.9 of the Bluebook lays out three conditions that must be met in order to use a short form citation:

  1. It is clear from the short form what is being referenced.
  2. The full citation falls in the same discussion as the short form citation.
  3. The reader will not have a problem locating the full citation in the document.

If these conditions are met, there are two types of short forms that may be used for case citations.

  • "Id.": This can be used only when the case cited is citation immediately before.  Because "id" is an abbreviation, always follow it with a period, and either underline or italicize the term.
  • Abbreviated version of the full citation:  Rule 10.9 states that this form should be used if "id" is not admissable.  There are three ways to make an abbreviated version.  They are:
    • One party's name (i.e. Stone, 501 U.S.)
    • Neither partys' names (i.e. 501 U.S.)
    • Name within text (i.e. "...in Stone, the defendant...")

The most common abbreviated form is generall to use one party's name along with volume and reporter abbreviation.

Tutorials

Please take a look at Cornell Law's short form citation examples to help understand how and when to use a short form citation.

Review Pincites and Short Forms to understand how and when to use pin cites and short forms

Assistant Director for Public Services

Lorelle Anderson's picture
Lorelle Anderson
Contact:
201 Beggs Ave.

Orlando, FL 32801

(407) 254-3288
Subjects:Law