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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. " Stone, the defendant...")

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


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

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