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Bluebook Citation: Court & Date

Bluebook Quick Reference

B10.1.3 (p. 13): Bluepages explanation for court and year of decision.

BT2.1 (p. 30):  Federal Court style guide.

Rule 10.4 (p. 104):  Rules for Court and Jurisdiction.

Rule 10.5 (p. 106):  Rules for Date and Year.

T1.3 (p. 248):  Abbreviations for courts in the United States and District of Columbia.

Court and Date Checklist


  • Determine the source you are citing (federal reporter, regional reporter, or state reporter).
  • If it is a federal reporter, and not the US Reports, include the abbreviation for the deciding court.
  • If it is a regional reporter, properly cite the deciding court.
  • If it is a state reporter, properly cite the deciding court, but do not include the state.


  • If you are citing a reporter, include only the year.
  • If the case is not cited in print, include the month, day, and year in the date citation.

The Basics

According to the Bluebook:

" citations should indicate parenthetically the deciding court followed by the year of the decision..."

This will immediately follow the page number.  The rules for citing the court and year are fairly simple, but do include some exceptions.  


You must indicate both the state name and name of the court, except:

  • You may omit the court name if it is the highest court in the jurisdiction
  • You may omit the court name if the reporter title clearly provides this information
  • You may omit the court name is the state court has an official reporter
  • You may omit the state information from the court and date parenthetical if the name of the reporter gives the name of the state.

The correct abbreviations for the state and court can be found in T1.


The date should reflect the date the case was decided, not the date the case was heard.  It depends upon where the case was published as to what date information is provided:

  • If published in a reporter, cite just the year of the decision
  • If not reported in print, include the month, day, and year of the decision.


Elon Law Library has a number of videos that will guide you through the different court citations and the date of the decision.  Please watch these videos to better familiarize yourself with the various types of court citations.

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