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Bluebook Citation: Case Location

BlueBook Quick Reference

Rule 10.3.2 (p.103):  Reporter location citation rules.

Rule 10.3.3 (p.104):  Public Domain location citation rules.

T1 (p.233):  Reporter abbreviations.

T7 (p. 498):  Court abbreviations.

Case Location Checklist

Handy reference to ensure your case location is cited correctly:

  • Volume number listed first.
  • Correctly abbreviate the reporter.
  • Adjacent single capitals must be closed (refer to Rule 6.1(a)).
  • List the first page of the case.
  • Check for extra spaces.

The Basics

The most commonly used location reference is a case's location in a reporter.  There are four parts to location portion of a citation:

  1. Volume Number:  Give the volume number of the reporter set that published the case.
  2. Reporter Set:  Give the abbreviated name, referring to T1 [NOTE: cases are sometimes published in multiple journals.  Refer to T1 to determine the correct reporter set to cite to.  T1 will alert you if there is a specific reporter you are to report to in a note following the reporter name].
  3. Page Number:  Cite the first page of the case.
  4. Pinpoint Page:  The page in which the relevant information you are citing can be found.  This is used unless you are referring to a case in general.

For example, a case published in the Southwestern Reporter would have the format:  

[3 S.W.2d 455, 465]

Rule 10.3.2 gives the rules for citing a reporter.

Some jurisdictions use the court's geographic location as the location cite.  This is known as a Public Domain cite, and generally consists of:

  1. Year:  The year the case was heard.
  2. State:  The state in which the case was heard.
  3. Number: The number assigned to the case by the court.

Rule 10.3.3 outlines how to cite a public domain case.  If a citation is available for the case in a regional reporter, this must be placed before the public domain cite.


Elon Law Library has very good video tutorials involving citation of case location.  Please watch these to better familiarize yourself with the different rules that apply to case location.

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