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Understanding Citations to Cases, Statutory Codes & Legal Periodicals

Simple explanation of the elements of a legal citation.

Case Citation Elements 


There are several elements to a case citation.

  • Case name
  • Volume
  • Abbreviation for the reporter and series designation
  • Beginning page number of the opinion
  • Jurisdiction and court
  • Date

These elements are labeled in the example below:

In some case citations, the parallel citation is included.  In these situations, there is citation to the official reporter and there is also a citation to the unofficial reporter (West Reporter).  Here is a citation with the parallel citation in the example listed below:

Chastek Library, Gonzaga University School of Law | 721 N. Cincinnati St. Spokane, WA 99220-3528 | 509.313.3758

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