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ESS 309: Legal Aspect of Sport: Citing Legal Cases

Plagiarism & Citations Styles @ Manchester University

For additional information regarding citation styles used at Manchester University, along with general information on plagiarism and academic integrity, FOLLOW THIS LINK.

Legal Citation Explained

legal citation explained

Schaill v. Tippecanoe County School Corporation
In the trial court, the first name plaintiff is the party bringing the suit with the second name being the defendant. In the appellate courts, the first name is the appellant (the party bringing the appeal), and the name of the appellee is after the "v." Depending on who files the appeal, the appellant may be either the plaintiff or the defendant from the lower court.
864 in this example is the volume number of the reporter that contains the court's opinion.
This refers to the abbreviation for the Federal Reporter, second series, which is the reporter containing this opinion.
1309 is the page in the reporter where the opinion begins.
7th Cir.
The designation for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Since the Federal Reporter contains the decisions of all of the United States Courts of Appeals, this information specifies which Circuit Court issued the opinion.
The year the case was decided, not the year it was brought.

Parallel Citations:
Since cases may be printed by more than one publisher, there may be more than one citation following the name of the case. The first citation will be to the official reporter for the court, followed by a citation to the "unofficial" reporters.

Legal Citations

Legal citations don't use the same format as other mainstream citation systems such as APA, MLA, Chicago, etc. Rather, legal citations include:

  • Volume number
  • Abbreviated title of the source the case came from
  • Page or section number(s)

Commonly Used Abbreviations

"U.S." - United States Reports
"S.Ct." - Supreme Court Reporter
"L. Ed.", "L. Ed.2d" - United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer's Edition
"F.", "F.2d", "F.3d" - Federal Reporter
"F.App'x" - Federal Appendix
"F. Supp.", "F. Supp.2d" - Federal Supplement
"F. Cas." - Federal Cases
"F.R.D." - Federal Rules Decisions
"B.R." - West's Bankruptcy Reporter

New York: 
"N.E.", "N.E.2d" - North Eastern Reporter
"N.Y.", N.Y.2d" - New York Reports
"N.Y.S.", "N.Y.S.2d" - West's New York Supplement
"A.D.", "A.D.2d", "A.D.3d" - New York's Appellate Division Reports
"N.Y.Sup.Ct." - New York Supreme Court Reports