Legal Resources Basics
Legal Resources and the Bibliography or Cited References Page
If you are using the Notes and Bibliography Method, know that the legal resources mentioned below do not need to appear in the bibliography. If you are using the author date system and are citing only a handful of legal resources, use an introductory sentence which includes the type of information that would normally be found in a note. If a fair number of legal resources are to be used, consider adding notes to supplement the author-date system.
Note: Since these sources do not appear in the bibliography we have only included note examples below.
Legal Resources Online
Although it is preferable to cite print sources, online sources are permissible if they are considered to be official versions of the original. Such sources can be cited as if they were print sources with the addition of a URL. Sources cited from Nexis Uni and other online databases should include the database name. Consider including information about the currency of the database when citing constitutions and statutes.
Citing Legal Sources Not Found on This Guide
The Chicago manual of style, in most cases, follows the style of legal citation set forth in The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation or The ALWD Guide to Legal Citation. Both of these sources can be found in OneSearch and can be consulted if you wish to cites sources not found on this guide.
Elements of a case citation
A case citation includes names of the parties, the volume number of the case reporter, the abbreviated name of the case reporter, the series number, if there is one, and the number of the first page of the case. If citing a specific page, that would be followed by a comma and the page referred to in the text. See the example below. All of that is followed by the abbreviated court name and the year the case was decided. If the case was accessed online, the URL would also be included. Most of this information should be at the top of the court decision. Abbreviations for case reporters and courts can be found in the Bluebook.
1. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 114 (1973), https://www.loc.gov/item/usrep410113/.
Abbreviated form of the citation:
Roe, 410 U.S. 113, at 114.
Below are examples of how to cite a statute found in the United States Statutes at Large and the United State Code. A citation for a statute includes the name of the act and the publication information followed by a date in parentheses. The year within a United States Code citation is the date of publication of the code, whereas the year in a United States Statutes at Large citation is the year the legislation was passed. If the source is found online include the URL.
Citing the United States Statutes at Large
2. An Act to Establish a Uniform Law on the Subject of Bankruptcies, Pub. L. No. 95–598, 92 Stat. 2549 (1978).
Citing the same statute but from the United States Code
2. An Act to Establish a Uniform Law on the Subject of Bankruptcies, 12 U.S.C § 5301 (1994).
Citing a specific section of the United States Code
2. 12 U.S.C. § 5301 (1994).
Citing a bill that has not passed
If you wish to cite a House or Senate bill that has passed, cite the statute, not the bill, using the format above. However, if it has not yet been passed, cite in the following manner.
3. An Act to Establish a Uniform Law on the Subject of Bankruptcies, H.R. 8200, 95th Cong. (1997).
The note for a hearing should include the full title, which should be in italics with the committee that heard the testimony. The title should be followed by the congress number, the page where the cited text can be found, and the year in parentheses. That is followed by a space, the speaker's name, title, and affiliation, also in parentheses.
4. Renewable Energy Transition: A Case Study of How International Collaboration on Offshore Wind Technology Benefits American Workers, Before the Subcom. on Europe, the Environment and Cyber, 117th Cong. 6 (2021) (statement of Giles Dickson, Chief Executive Officer at WindEurope).