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Case Law Research: Abbreviations

A guide designed for first year law students on the MU Law Library's resources for case law research.

Understanding Legal Citations

Legal citations indicate where something is published and typically will include the following elements:

1. Volume or Title number
2. Publication
 (usually abbreviated). This may be followed by a series designation.
3. First page or section number Note: the symbol § means section. 

 

Citations for Case Reporters will normally be in the following form:

359 S.W.2d 851 refers to Volume 359 of the Southwest Reporter, Second Series page 851.

533 U.S. 483 refers to Volume 533 of the Supreme Court Reporter, page 483


Citations for Statutes may take one of two general formats:

Federal

44 U.S.C. § 1901 refers to Title 44 of the United States Code, Section 1901.

42 U.S.C.A. § 816 refers to Title 42 of the United States Code Annotated, Section 816.

State

V.A.M.S. § 558.040 refers to Section 558.040 of Vernon's Annotated Missouri Statutes

R.S.Mo. § 261.010 refers to Section 261.010 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri.

Citation Manuals

Common abbreviation may not be Bluebook abbreviation

Common legal abbreviations are listed on this page.  For proper citation in scholarly works please consult ALWD or The Bluebook Uniform System of Citation.

Courts and Case Reporters

Abbreviation Title
A, A2d Atlantic Reporter
Cal. Rptr., Cal. Rptr.2d, Cal. Rptr.3d California Reporter
F.Supp., F.Supp. 2d

Federal Supplement

F.2d, F.3d Federal Reporter
L.Ed Lawyer's Edition
Mo. Missouri Supreme Court
Mo. App. Missouri Appellate Courts
N.E., N.E.2d North Eastern Reporter
N.W., N.W.2d North Western Reporter
N.Y.S., N.Y.S.2d New York Supplement
P., P.2d, P.3d Pacific Reporter
S.Ct. U.S. Supreme Court
S.E., S.E.2d South Eastern Reporter
S.W., S.W.2d, S.W.3d South Western Reporter
So., So.2d, So.3d (or S.) Southern Reporter
U.S. U.S. Supreme Court