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Law & Legal Studies: Finding & Reading Legal Citations

How to Read Citations

Encyclopedias, digests and other sources giver references to laws and court cases by using citations such as 410 US 113 or 237 F2d 62 or RC 2305.16.


How to Read Citations

Statutes:  A citation to a statute consists of an abbreviation which stands for the name of a law book, plus numbers indicating the title (subject category) and section or paragraph.

     42 USCA 2006d    =   Title 42 of U.S. Code Annotated, section 2006d

     RC 5301.12         =   Title 53 of Ohio Revised Code, chapter 1, section 12

Court Cases: A citation to a court case consists of an abbreviation plus numbers indicating the volume and page number.

     94 SCt 1009        =   Volume 94 of Supreme Court Reporter, page 1009

     113 NE2d 321     =   Volume 113 of Northeastern Reporter 2d, page 321

Selected Abbreviations

For other abbreviations see the tables of abbreviations in the front of the volume from which you got the citation.  There is also a list of abbreviations in Black's Law Dictionary (GOV REF  KF 156 .B53).  Numbers following abbreviations (such as F2d or ALR3rd) indicate particular series.

AmJur   =  American Jurisprudence OJur       =  Ohio Jurisprudence
CFR      =  Code of Federal Regulations OOps     =  Ohio Opinions
CJS      =  Corpus Juris Secundum OS         =  Ohio State reports
F          =  Federal Reporter Ohio ST  =  Ohio State Reports
F.Supp  =  Federal Supplement RC         =  Ohio Revised Code
Fed.     =  Federal Reporter SCt        =  Supreme Court Reporter

LEd      =  Supreme Court Reports,

                 Lawyer's Edition

US         =  U.S. Reports
NE       =  Northeastern Reporter USC       =  United States Code
OAC    =  Ohio Adminstrative Code USCA     =  United States Code Annotated