Bluebook is a well-known definitive style guide for legal citations, which is widely used in the legal world, especially in the United States. Academicians, students, practitioners, and legal researchers use it in their regular professional work. Unlike any other citation style guide, the bluebook is more comprehensive to use. So, it is our little endeavor to present the bluebook reference book easily for students and legal researchers.
Guide Through the Bluebook
The Bluebook is organized mainly into three parts. One should coordinate with each part when citing an authority. They are as follows:
Bluepages: Bluepages are called practitioners’ notes. The section is mainly concerned with court practitioners or non-academic purposes. One can supplement this segment with whitepages.
Whitepages: Whitepages are elaborated forms of rules. These rules are mainly focused on for law review or academic purposes. One should remember that except for some key differences, both bluepages and whitepages are similar.
Table: The table is for abbreviations and jurisdictions of various sources. When citing an abbreviated form of authority, one should focus on this segment carefully.
General Terms to Be Remembered
As we go through the bluebook reference book, we need to remember some general terms/symbols that will be used frequently in citations.
Italics/underscore: Thekey difference between bluepages and whitepages is that bluepages use underscore whereas whitepages use italics font.
Section: Section is symbolized as (§).
Paragraph: Paragraphis symbolized as(¶).
Article: Article is abbreviated as (art.)
Clause: Clause is abbreviated as (cl.)
(See the Table segment for more abbreviated forms)
Author name: The first time a work is cited, always cite the author’s full name as it appears on the publication including the title such as Jr. if the author uses it. But, a designation like Dr. or, Prof. cannot be used.
Small Caps: Small Caps or Small Capitals are lowercase characters in Microsoft Word that resemble uppercase letters. In authors’ names, titles of books, and titles of periodicals small caps are used. Use [Ctl+Shift+k] in MS Word to make/unmake small caps.
Citing General Authorities
The following examples illustrate how to cite commonly used sources in accordance with The Bluebook’s Whitepages, which are intended for use in law review footnotes.
Books (Rule 15)
[Volume Number, if any] [Author’s Name], [Title of The Book] [Page Number] [(Publisher’s Name Year of Publishing)].
In the case of two authors, the names will be in order as mentioned on the title page and the name will be separated by an ampersand (&).
Probir Neogi, Law of Specific Relief 500-503 (Mullick Brothers 2011).
2 Dd Basu, Constitution Of India 201 (2010).
A. Leo Levin & Meyer Kramer, New Provisions in the Ketubah: A Legal Opinion 3-4 (1955).
[Volume Number, if any] [Author’s Name, …. Or Et. Al.], [Title of The Book] [Page Number] [(Publisher’s Name Year of Publishing)].
We can use the first author’s name followed by “Et. Al.”. We can also use all the authors’ names when they are necessary to mention.
Alan R Edfern Et. Al., R Edfern and Hunter on International Arbitration 211-215 (Kluwer Arbitration 2009).
Cases (Rule 10)
[Plaintiff/ Appellant/ Applicant] v. [Defendant/ Respondent], [Volume number] [reporter name] [court name] [pinpoint of pages (if any)] [(year)].
Hussain Muhammad Ershad v. Bangladesh, 6 BLC AD 18, 19 (2001).
Guru Nanak Foundation v. Rattan Singh and Sons, AIR SC 2075 (1981).
Ador Samia Pvt. Ltd. v. Peekay Holdings Ltd., 8 SCC 572 (1998).
Constitution (Rule 11)
[Constitution Name (abbreviated)] [relevant provisions].
Bangl. Const. art. 32.
U.S. Const. art. 1, § 9, cI. 2.
Bangladesh, in the bluebook, is abbreviated as “Bangl.”. See table no. T10.3.
Statutes (Rule 12)
[Short Title of the Act], [§ <specific section being referred to>], [No. <Act number>], [Acts of Parliament], [year of the Act] [(country abbreviation)].
The Evidence Act, 1872, § 20, No. 1 Acts of Parliament, 1872 (Bangl.).
Journal Articles (Rule 16)
[Author’s name], [Title of the article], [Journal Volume Number] [Name of The Journal (abbreviated)] [Starting Page of the Article], [Pages Cited] [(Year)].
Between the two authors’ names, an ampersand (&) is used.
Ridwanul Haque & Emraan Azad, Judicial Review of State Contracts: Piercing the Narrow Divide between ‘Pure and Simple’ and ‘Statutory or Sovereign’, 28 Dhaka University L.J. 35, 41-42 (2017).
General Online Sources (Rule 18)
Generally, Time of access is used usually when the articles or blogs frequently get updated to identify easily.
The name of the months is usually abbreviated. See table no. T12.
Also, if there is no date associated with the specific subject matter of the citation, “last updated”; “last modified “or “last visited” dates should be provided in a parenthetical after the URL.
[Name of the authors], [Name of the article], [Name of The Webpage] [(Date of access, time of access)], [URL].
Ali Mashraf, From the Court Corridor: December Edition, Dhaka Law Review, (Apr. 13, 2022, 10:00 PM), https://www.dhakalawreview.org/blog/2021/01/from-the-court-corridor-december-edition-5167.
[Name of the author], [Name of the article], [Name of The Webpage] [(Updated Date of publication, time of publication if any)], [URL].
Tahseen Lubaba, An analysis on the draft NRCC Act 2020, The Daily Star (Dec. 22, 2020, 1:35 AM), https://www.thedailystar.net/law-our-rights/news/analysis-the-draft-nrcc-act-2020-2015337.
Online source that preserves original pagination, such as a PDF:
[Name of the author], [Name of the article], [Journal Volume Number] [Name of the Journal (abbreviated)] [Starting Page of the Article], [Pages Cited] [(Year)], [URL].
Kenneth W. Simons, Retributivists Need Not and Should Not Endorse the Subjectivist Account of Punishment, 109 Colum. L. Rev. 1, 3 (2009), (Sept. 3, 2022), https://www.columbialawreview.org/Sidebar/volume/109/1_Simons.pdf.
Time markers for Video/Audio recordings:
[Name of the author], [Name of the article], [Name of The Website], [pinpoint time] [(Date of publication, time of publication if any)], [URL].
Stephen Duneier, How to Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals, YouTube, 5:00, (Mar. 6, 2017), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQMbvJNRpLE (last visited Dec. 20, 2022).
Subsequent Citations (Rule 4)
Id: When citing the immediately preceding authority, use ‘id.’ in italic form.
Supra: Where a subsequent citation varies from the former, indicate the footnote in which the full citation can be found. Supra should not be used to refer to cases, statutes, constitutions, or legislative materials. Use ‘supra’ in italic form.
- Probir Neogi, Law of Specific Relief 500-503 (Mullick Brothers 2011).
- Id. at 505.
- Ridwanul Haque & Emraan Azad, Judicial Review of State Contracts: Piercing the Narrow Divide between ‘Pure and Simple’ and ‘Statutory or Sovereign’, 28 Dhaka University L.J. 35, 41-42 (2017).
- Hussain Muhammad Ershad v. Bangladesh, 6 BLC AD 18 (2001).
- Id. at 19.
- Neogi, supra note 1, at 501.
- Haque & Azad, supra note 3, at 43.
International materials (Rule 21)
Treaties (Rule 21.4)
[Name of the Agreement], [Provisions], [Parties (abbreviated)], [Date of signing], [International treaty source].
Agreement on Defense and Economic Cooperation, Greece-U.S., at 4, Sept. 8, 1983, T.I.A.S. No. 10, 814.
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Dec. 10, 1982, 1833 U.N.T.S. 397.
Cases (Rule 21.5)
[Name of the case as found in the report] [(party’s name if any)], [The reporter if any], [The characterization of the decision (judgment, advisory opinion, etc.) if relevant], [year] [the volume and the name of the publication] [the page or case number], [the pin citation, if any, indicated by ¶] [the date].
Military and Paramilitary Activities in and Against Nicaragua (Nicar. v. U.S.), Judgment, 1986 I.C.J. Rep. 14, ¶ 190 (June 27).
For subsequent short citations, pinpointing that page would be sufficient.
Nicar. v. U.S., 1986 I.C.J. at 181.
U.N. Documents (Rule 21.7)
[Document name] [Provisions], [Pinpoint citation].
U.N. Charter art. 94, ¶ 1. e.
G.A. Res. 832 (lX), at 19 (Oct. 21, 1954).
Writing a bibliography or index of authority will be as like the footnotes except for a few things that are mentioned below.
- In case of Books, remove the page number.
- For a case that is cited multiple times, use the case once and add the page numbers that are cited in different places.
- For a statutory provision, remove the sections.
- For journals or articles, remove the cited pages.
The detailed guidelines are provided in The Bluebook 21st Edition which is available at https://www.legalbluebook.com/.