Citing court cases

Legal citations can be difficult as their format varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. You will notice that the formatting of American and French case law differs, for example.

Case law citation formats can also vary within a country. This is the case in the US, as federal and state courts have different formats and abbreviations.

When citing court cases, you should capture the most important information and present it in a clear, straightforward and uniform manner. Traditionally, when citing using the APA format, we recommend that you gather the following information:

    1. Case name
    2. Year of court ruling
    3. Case source
    4. Name of the court

And the APA citation structure is as follows.

APA Court case citation format:

Case Name [Year] Case Source (Name of the Court)

Examples:

  • People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson [1994] BA097211 (Los Angeles County Superior Court)
  • Brown v. Board of Education [1954] 374 U.S. 483 (Supreme Court of the United States)
  • Batson v. Kentucky [1986] 476 U.S. 79 (Supreme Court of the United States)