Bluebook Citation: A Handy Guide On The Legal Guidelines And It’s Rules

Bluebook Citation Featured Image

Are you wondering what a bluebook citation is? Learning about bluebook is a must if you are a law student or professional dealing with legal papers or documents. These are the basic citation rules that are followed in legal documents. If you have just started studying law, you may not have a fair understanding of this concept. But, let that not worry you.

This article will cover the basics of this citation and how to use it.

Bluebook: What Is It?

It is basically an American-style guide that primarily consists of citation guidelines that must be followed in legal documents. You can find its use in law journals, court documents, and legal memoranda. To put it simply, these are a set of guidelines that are usually referred to when writing legal documents.

Who uses it? Students, scholars, and professors of law use these citations.

One can find the use of this citation format in

  • Court proceedings,
  • Official government documents,
  • News reports on governmental occurrences,
  • Police reports, and so on.

The blue pages are an integral part of this style guide that comprises regulations/rules in addition to the thesis about lawyer references.

Bluebook Usage

As discussed above, the Blue Book is predominantly used and referred to by people involved in legal sectors. They can be law students and professors, lawyers, judges, politicians, the government, or law-based agencies.

This style guide comprises excerpts related to legal writing in addition to popular references made by judges, lawyers, and other authorities. Furthermore, it may also consist of news reports concerning government developments. Also, one can find its usage in university dissertations and other professional documents. As a result, it is crucial to learn about this style guide.

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Elements Of Bluebook

Here are the essential components of a bluebook:

Front Cover:

  • Comprises footnotes that are associated with legalization and peer assessments

Table of Contents:

  • White Pages: Comprises academic protocol citations for legal documents
  • Blue pages: Comprises non-academic protocol citations for legal documents
  • Tables: Comprises general information about this style guide


  • Entails legal document citation rules and regulations
  • Contains a brief explanation on complex questions regarding the proper method of citing legal documents

Guidelines 1-9:

  • Entails the current rules and methods for legal document citations

Guidelines 10-19:

  • Specially comprises guidelines that address how legal documents and other materials from foreign countries must be handled

Guidelines 20-21:

  • Comprises basic guidelines used for citing information concerning other territory law

Lists T1 – T16:

  • Consists of general guidelines for orders 1-21
  • Comprises legal citation advice along with ground rules concerning authorities
  • Consists of Bluebook abbreviations


  • A place to find various citation rules quickly

Back of the Bluebook:

  • Comprises of brief writing instructions and citations from court proceedings and historic legal documents in a non-academic referencing format

Back Cover:

  • Lists the book’s content

Bluebook: Bibliography Format

The bibliography section must include citations at the end of the writing. Furthermore, it must encompass a list of citations arranged alphabetically by both students and professionals. One may not include page numbers here, but the following line must be indented. Furthermore, the name of the author can be penned in a slightly larger font optionally.

Example: Full-Name – Smith, David. (Surname and First Name)

Bibliography format in Footnotes

The footnotes in an academic paper based on law must appear once the concerned information is discussed but not before it. Furthermore, it should be listed in numerical order and indented. Also, take care to include the author’s full name when providing information on the name.

Remember that it must always be positioned at the end or bottom of the page and if there are multiple citations, it must be separated with semicolons.

Example: Footnotes, 1. Full-Name – Jill Clinton. (In Normal Order)

Examples of Bluebook citation

Here are some examples on how to cite various legal documents:


Court proceedings

As per the judge’s orders, legal documents are generated at the end of court proceedings. Apart from that, the court also generates case transcripts in addition to written letters and evidence analysis documents. As per the Bluebook, all these documents are cited in a particular format, and moreover, it is essential to include brief information in the footnotes, as given below:

Defendant/Organization| V. | Defendant/Organization | Correspondent Folio | (Occurrence Year)

The State of Mexico v. Bill Smith, 432 D. CVV. 5d 131 (J. Vast. 2019)

Correspondent Folio | Occurrence Year

432 D. CVV, 5d 131 (J. Vast. 2019)

Books by single or multiple authors

Books by a single author are cited differently from that of multiple authors. The main distinction is that both names are stated at the beginning of the footnote. This method is only applicable to the works of a single author. Apart from that, the Bluebook book citation method differs in no way.

Please remember that the publication’s topic must be included. The year is next, followed by the version. This rule applies to those who cite one or more scholars.

Writer, | Heading, | (Version and Year)

Theresa May, Brexit, (1 ed. The Houses of Parliament, 2019)

Writer 1 and Writer 2, | Heading | (Version and Year)

Theresa May and Donald Trump, The Relations Between the UK and US, (Ed 5, 2018)

Tabloids (Printed and Online)

Tabloids are also included in the legal processes, and they must be cited as given below:

Writer, | Heading, | Company, | (publication year), | foliate number/webpage-address


Casey Jones, The Extradition of Julian Assange, The Daily Express, 2019, Page 21-23


Anita Balakrishnan, Lawyer Wins Appeal in Lawsuit with Paralegal, The Law Times, 2019,

Legal Scholarly Texts

The main distinction is that both names are stated at the beginning of the footnote. This method is only applicable to the works of a single author. Apart from that, the Bluebook book citation method differs in no way.

Please remember that the publication’s topic must be included. The year is next, followed by the version. This rule applies to those who cite one or more scholars.

Writer, | Heading, | Volume, | Title of Journal, | Title of the Starting Foliot, | (Publication Year)

James McPhillioton, The Death Penalty, #45, The Constitutional Method of Capital Punishment, 2017

Website Citation

Those studying or practicing law may use a Bluebook website citation in their writing. The bibliography for this type of Bluebook citation is written in a distinct manner. Writers must include the topic, webpage, date of publication, URL address, and time of previous visit.

Heading, | Webpage, | Date of Publication, | URL Address, | Date of Previous Visit Tuesday Round-Up, Scotus Blog, Publication Date: 6/18/19,, Last Visited: 6/20/19

Final Words

Overall, Bluebook is your authoritative style guide or reference book for legal citations. This can be seen as a handy tool for law professionals and students to quote court cases, law-related news articles, and official statements made to local authorities. Following this guide will help you understand what a bluebook is and help you practice it diligently.

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