::Case citation


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The United States Reports is the official reporter of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Case citation is a system used in many countries to identify past court case decisions, either in series of books called reporters or law reports, or in a "neutral" style that identifies a decision regardless of where it is reported. Case citations are formatted differently in different jurisdictions, but generally contain the same key information.

A legal citation is a "reference to a legal precedent or authority, such as a case, statute, or treatise, that either substantiates or contradicts a given position."<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Where cases are published in paper format, the citation usually contains the following information:

  • Report title
  • Volume number
  • Page number
  • Year of decision

In some report series, for example in England and Australia, the volumes are not numbered independently of the year: thus the year and volume number (usually no greater than 4) are required to identify which book of the series has the case reported within its covers. In citations of this type it is usual in these jurisdictions to apply square brackets "[year]" to the year (which may not be the year that the case was decided: for example, a case decided in December 2001 may have been reported in 2002).

The Internet brought with it the opportunity for courts to publish their decisions on web sites. Decisions of many courts from all over the world can now be found through the website WorldLII and its member institutes.<ref>World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII)</ref>

Most decisions of courts are not published in printed law reports. The expense of typesetting and publishing them has limited the printed law reports to significant cases. Internet publishing of court decisions resulted in a flood of information. The result was that a medium-neutral citation system was adopted. This usually contains the following information:

  • Year of decision
  • Abbreviated title of the court
  • Decision number (not the court file number)

Rather than utilizing page numbers for pin-point references, which would depend upon particular printers and browsers, pin-point quotations refer to paragraph numbers.

Case citation sections
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