Guide to Cite using Bluebook Citation Method (with examples)

What is blue book?

The Bluebook, is the definitive style guide for legal Citation in the United States. For generations, law students, lawyers, scholars, judges, and other legal professionals have relied on The Bluebook’s unique system of citation.

History of Bluebook

The development of The Bluebook from its inception in 1926 as a twenty-six-page pamphlet for use at Harvard Law School to its current status as a 389-page manual used at the vast majority of law schools in the country has been amply documented. The Bluebook was accepted as well as critiqued but now it has come a long way with the Nineteenth (19th) Edition.

The title, A Uniform System of Citation, has always been somewhat odd.  The system is hardly uniform, and the book governs style as well as citations. Moreover, nobody calls it by its title; everybody calls it The Bluebook.  In fact, the book’s almost nameless editors have amended the title to reflect this fact:  it is now titled The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

General Principles of Citation

Accurate and consistent referencing is essential in all academic work. Whenever you refer to either the work or ideas of someone, or are influenced by another’s work, you must acknowledge this. Similarly if you make a direct quotation from someone’s work this should be referred to accurately.

The central function of a legal citation is to allow the reader to efficiently locate the cited source. Thus, the citations forms in The Bluebook are designed to provide the information necessary to lead the reader directly to the specific items cited.

Why to Cite?

Passages taken from the work of others must be suitably acknowledged with the use of speech marks and a clear reference to the source. Accurate quoting and referencing give credit both to you and to those whose work you have used.

 References and quotes reflect your research and indicate the depth of reading you have undertaken. They also allow others to follow up on the work that you have done.


If you do not accurately reference your work you may commit plagiarism. This is a disciplinary offence under the University’s Assessment Regulations, is regarded as cheating (whether intentional or not), and normally will result in the coursework being marked as zero. More serious consequences are also likely to follow. You should be aware that the Law Society and Bar Council requires all applicants for membership to declare whether they have ever ‘committed an act of plagiarism or cheating in any form of assessment’ and will require two referees to provide written statements to the Society concerning the issue. You should also be aware that employers are extremely reluctant to hire people who have been found guilty of acts of dishonesty.

It is important, therefore, to make a careful note of your sources of information as you are doing your research and collecting materials to incorporate in your answer so that you can identify and acknowledge them when writing up and list those sources in your bibliography.

How to cite authorities according to 19th Bluebook Citation Format?

Note:  There is a division of Jurisdiction in Bluebook and each Jurisdiction has different format of citation, which is quite evident from examples below. The local jurisdiction of bluebook is U.S. hence India, U.K, Australia etc falls in foreign jurisdiction. Look at the index of bluebook and you will get it.


U.K Case:

Model: Party A v. Party B, (year of publication) <volume> <official reporter> (Court).

Example: R. v. Lockwood, (1782) 99 Eng. Rep. 379 (K.B.)

U.S. Case:

Model: Party A v. Party B, <volume> <Reporter> <Page>, (<Court> <year of Pulication>)

Example: United States v. MacDonald, 531 F.2d 196, (4th cir. 1976)

Indian Case:

Model: Party A v. Party B, (year of publication) <volume> <Reporter> <page> (India)

Example: Charan Lal Sahu v. Union Carbide, (1989) 1 S.C.C. 674 (India)



U.K. Statutes:

Model: Statute Short Title, <year>, <regnal years(s) for statutes enacted prior to 1963>, C. <chapter number (s)>, § <section number(s), sch (s). <schedule (s), if any> (<jurisdiction abbreviation if not evident from context>).


Regnal Year can be indicated by following this format:

<year (s) of reign> <abbreviated name of the monarch> < numeric designation of the monarch in Arabic numerals>. If the monarch was the first of that name, omit the numeric designation.


Example: Supreme Court of Judicature Act, 1925, 15 &16 Geo. 5, c. 49, § 226, sch. 6 (Eng.)

U.S. Statutes:

Federal Statutes:

Model: <official name of the Act>, <publication source in which the act may be found>, (<the parenthetical indication either i) the year the source was published or ii) the year the statute was passed>)

Example: Department of Transportation Act, Pub. L. No. 89-670, § 9, 80 Stat. 931, 944-47 (1996).

Note: Nothing is underlined in a statute citation. “Section” is indicated by the ‘§’ Symbol, the plural of which is “§§”.

State Statutes:

Model: <the abbreviated name of the code, as listed in table T1. 3 in bluebook> <the cited section number (s)> (<the year of the cited code edition (not the year the act was passed)>).

Example:  Cal. Fin. Code § 500 (West 2000).

Indian Statutes:

Model: <the name of the act>, <Act no and the year>, <Jurisdiction> (year), <Volume>.

Example: The Banking Regulation Act, No. 10 of 1949, India Code (1993), vol. 15.

Sessions Law/Amendment Acts (Indian Jurisdiction):

Model: <act name>, No. <act number>, Acts of parliament, <year of volume>, (country abbreviation if not evident from context>).

Example: The Copyright (Amendment0 Act, 1992, No. 13, Acts of Parliament, 1992 (India).



U.S. Constitution:

Model: <abbreviation of constitution cited>. <abbreviation of amendment>. <no. of amendment cited>.  § <Section symbol and no. of section cited>.


U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 2. (Amended Constitution)

U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 2.

Indian Constitution:

Example: India Const. art. 1, cl.2.

Constitution amendment:

Example: India Const. art. 269, amended by The Constitution (Eightieth Amendment) Act, 2000.



U.K. Regulation:

Model: <Regulation name>, <year of enactment>, <publication abbreviation> <instrument number>, <article>, <paragraph> (<jurisdiction abbreviation if not evident from context>).

Example: Patent Rules, 1958, S.I. 1958/73, art. 3, ¶ 3 (U.K.)

U.S. Regulation:

Model: <title no. of the regulation> <abbreviation of set of regulation cited> <section  symbol (§) and the specific section cited> (<date of code edition cited>).

Example: 7 C.F.R. § 319.76 (1999).

Indian Regulation:

Model: <regulation name>, <year of enactment>, <volume number>, <publication abbreviation> <page (s) of specific material> (<country abbreviation if not evident from context>).

Example: The Beedi Workers Welfare Cess Rules, 1977, 22 Gen. S. R. & O. 719 (India).



Single Author

Model: <Author’s full name (Small Caps)>, <Title of book(Small Caps)> <page cited> (<editor(s) name(s)>, <edition cited> <year>)

Example: Francis A. Carey, Organic Chemistry 310 (Kent A. Peterson et al, 6th ed. 2006).

Note: When citing a book containing multiple volume just add the volume number at the start.

For other rules, such as citing a book containing two or more than author, please see Rule 15.1 in bluebook. (Consider this as an exercise).


Model: <Name of author>, <Title of the Article (italicised)>, <volume> <Publisher (Small Caps)> <page> (year)

Example: Harlan F. Stone, The Equitable right Prinnciples, 18 Colum. L. Rev. 291 (1918).

For Internet Article: See Rule 18.2. The Date, time & year along with the Internet URL. Remember, Do not use “available at” before the URL.

Working Papers:

Model: <name of the author>, <Title of the Paper (italicised)> <page number(s)> (<Name of the sponsoring organization, working paper designation and the year>).

Example: Alanj J. Auerbach, National Savings 24-27 (National Bureau of Economics Research, Working Paper No. 729, 1981).

Note:  while citing, always be careful with the comma “,”


Id is the short form of the Latin word “Idem” meaning ‘Same.’ “Id.” is the short form used to refer to the immediately preceding authority.

Example: Id. at 8.

Note: the period i.e. ‘.’ is also italicised.


supra is used when you are not referring to the immediately preceding authority. Volume, paragraph, section, or page numbers may be added to refer to specific material.

Example: Supra note 16, at 6. (where 16 is the previous footnote where the authority may have been fully cited and 6 is the reference page in that authority.)

Supra is Okay to use for:






For authority that would be cumbersome to cite with the usual “supra” form or for which the regular shortened form may confuse the reader, the author may establish a specific shortened form.  After the first citation of the authority, but before any explanatory parenthetical, place the word “hereinafter” and the shortened form in the brackets.

Example: Charan Lal Sahu v. Union Carbide, (1989) 1 S.C.C. 674 (India) (hereinafter Charan Lal Case).

Note: The first time you cite a source, Full details should be given.

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