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Bluebook Citation: Short Forms

Bluebook Quick Reference

B12.2 (p. 20):  Bluepages rules for statute short forms.

Rule 12.10 (p.133):  Rules on short forms for statutes.

Statute Short Forms Checklist

Handy guide for determining when and where to use short forms for statutes:

  • If the current statute being cited was in the preceding citation, then use the short form "Id."  Do not include "at" after "Id." if you are citing a different section.
  • If you cannot use "Id.", fomulate an acceptable abbreviated short form.

The Basics

As stated with the cases, the full legal citation for a statute is only needed the first time you cite the statute.  If the statute is referenced subsequently in the same discussion, you may use the short form of the citation.  As with cases, there are two short form options for statutes:

  1. Id.:  Used only if the statute you are citing is found immediately before the current citation.  Do not use "at" if citing a difference section of the statute.  Instead, use "Id." then the new section or subsection number.
  2. Abbreviated form of the full citation:  For federal statutes, you can either keep the volume and code abbreviation and section number, or just use the section number.  State codes will vary, but in general, you omit the name of the code and date parenthetical, leaving only the numerical information.

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 for statutes.

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