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Western Kentucky University

Parts of a Legal Citation

Sample Citation:

Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill
    , 437 U.S. 153, 98 S. Ct. 2279, 57 L.Ed.2d 117 (1978).

Meaning:

Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill
      = Name of the case

      437 U.S. 153 = volume 437, United States Reports, page 153

      98 S. Ct. 2279 = volume 98, Supreme Court Reporter, page 2279

      57 L. Ed.2d 117= volume 57, Lawyer's Edition 2d series, page 117

    (1978) = Date of the court decision

All legal citations are basically the same. That is, the first number always tells you which volume to go to; the abbreviation tells you which set of books to consult; and the second number tells you where in the volume to look. Depending on the set of books, you may consult a title and part (e.g., CFR) or a chapter and section (e.g., KRS). Once the set is found, one can tell from the spine labeling how it is organized. You may come across this symbol: § This means "section." §§ means "sections."

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 Last Modified 9/24/14