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Sample Bluebook Citations

Important Reminder: When Citing IL Cases to IL Courts

The samples in this section cover basic citation format for case law. Complicated variations are not shown in these samples. Always consult the Bluebook for additional information on correct citation format.

Important: in the "Illinois" entry in Table 1 (p. 262), the Bluebook instructs you to cite to the North Eastern Reporter if a case is cited therein. This practice is incorrect when citing Illinois cases in Illinois courts.

  • Illinois Supreme Court Rule 6 requires practitioners citing Illinois cases in Illinois courts to use Illinois official reporters for decisions issued prior to July 1, 2011 and the public domain citation format for decisions on or after July 1, 2011.
  • You may optionally parallel cite to the North Eastern Reporter and/or the Illinois Decisions reporter but you must first cite to the official reporter or the public domain cite.
    • If you do cite to a regional reporter, the parenthetical information must identify the court. If the court is a district court, the parenthetical must also include the district in which the case was decided.

For additional Illinois-specific citation information, see the Style Manual for the Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts (2012), available on the Illinois Courts website at http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/StyleManual/SupCrt_StyleManual.pdf.

Citing IL Case Law - Official Reporter Format (used for cases decided prior to 7/1/11)

In general, cite to the case name, official reporter volume, name of the official reporter abbreviated, page number on which the opinion begins, pinpoint page(s) (if applicable), court district and year.

Sample Second District Illinois Appellate Court Opinion
   Citation in Bluebook format Notes
As cited to an Illinois Court People v. Harston, 23 Ill. App. 3d 279 (2d Dist. 1974). The Bluebook states the inclusion of the appellate district is optional but its inclusion in the parenthetical is required for the Basic Legal Research class.
The same case with a pinpoint cite cited to an Illinois Court People v. Harston, 23 Ill. App. 3d 279, 281 (2d Dist. 1974). Pinpoint citing directs the reader to the specific part of the document from which you obtained information. See B 10.1.2 (pp. 12-13).
The same case's short cite forms cited to an Illinois Court

Harston, 23 Ill. App. 3d at 282.

Id. at 283.

The general rule is to use the first party name in a short cite. However, in this example Harston is used rather than People for clarity. If multiple criminal cases were all being referred to as People, the reader might not be able to tell which case was being referenced.
The same case cited to an out-of-state (non-Illinois) court Illinois v. Harston, 319 N.E.2d 69 (Ill. App. Ct. 2d Dist. 1974).

Cite to the regional reporter in non-Illinois courts. This is when you would follow the Bluebook and use the North Eastern Reporter.  Be sure to also check local court rules of the jurisdiction in which the case is being cited for possible variations.

"Illinois" is used as the party name instead of "People" when citing to a non-Illinois court. See R. 10.2.1(f) (p.99).

Sample Illinois Supreme Court Opinion
   Citation in Bluebook format Notes
Cited to an Illinois Court Rollins v. Ellwood, 141 Ill. 2d 244 (1990).  
Cited to an out-of-state (non-Illinois) Court Rollins v. Ellwood, 565 N.E.2d 1302 (Ill. 1990).

Cite to the regional reporter in non-Illinois courts. This is when you would follow the Bluebook and use the North Eastern Reporter.

Comparision of Illinois Appellate (official) and North Eastern Reporter (unofficial) citation formats

Illinois Appellate Reports Example
(Official Reporter format, for cases decided prior to July 1, 2011)
North Eastern Reporter Example (Unofficial reporter format)
Pekin Ins. Co. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 329 Ill. App. 3d 46 (1st Dist. 2002). Pekin Ins. Co. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 768 N.E.2d 211 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. 2002).
Pekin Ins. Co. v. Allstate Ins. Co. The case name. If the parties are people instead of companies, only the last names will be used (e.g., Burns v. Simpson). Words in case names other than last names are abbreviated according to Table 6 in the Bluebook. Pekin Ins. Co. v. Allstate Ins. Co. The case name. If the parties are people instead of companies, only the last names will be used (e.g., Burns v. Simpson). Words in case names other than last names are abbreviated according to Table 6 in the Bluebook.
329 The volume number within the reporter (See the What is a Reporter? box on this page). 768 The volume number within the reporter (See the What is a Reporter? box on this page).
Ill. App. 3d The abbreviation of the name of the reporter, in this example Illinois Appellate Reports 3d Series. N.E.2d The abbreviation of the name of the reporter, in this example North Eastern Reporter 2d Series.
46 The page number on which the case begins in the print version of the reporter. Legal databases will also use the same citation format even though there may not necessarily be a print "page" equivalent online. 211 The page number on which the case begins in the print version of the reporter. Legal databases will also use the same citation format even though there may not necessarily be a print "page" equivalent online.
1st Dist. The Illinois appellate district court that heard the case. It is important to identify the court because this will determine whether the decision will be considered binding or persuasive. Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. Because the North Eastern Reporter contains cases from other states, the abbreviation "Ill." (not "IL") is needed to identify the state. The appellate district court that heard the case must also be included. (If this was an Illinois Supreme Court decision, the abbreviation would be only "Ill.") It is important to identify the court because this will determine whether the decision will be considered binding or persuasive.
2002 The year the case was decided. You may sometimes see two dates when looking at a case. One is the date the case or argument was heard, and the second is the date decided (when the court released its opinion). When citing a case, you use the year the court decided the case, not the date argued. 2002 The year the case was decided. You may sometimes see two dates when looking at a case. One is the date the case or argument was heard, and the second is the date decided (when the court released its opinion). When citing a case, you use the year the court decided the case, not the date argued.
Notes

Illinois Appellate Reports ceased publication as of June 30, 2011. For cases decided on or after July 1, 2011, use the Public Domain Citation format when citing an Illinois appellate or Supreme Court case (see examples on this page).

Illinois decisions dated July 1, 2011 and later are still published in the North Eastern Reporter. However, The North Eastern Reporter should not be used when citing an Illinois case to an Illinois court. Only use the official formats appropriate to the date of your case.

Notes

The North Eastern Reporter should not be used when citing an Illinois case to an Illinois court. Only use the official formats appropriate to the date of your case.

You may use the North Eastern Reporter (or the other regional reporters) when citing decisions from other states. However, decisions from other states are not binding on Illinois, they are merely persuasive.

 

Citing IL Case Law - Public Domain Citation Format (used for cases decided on or after 7/1/11)

Generally you cite to the public domain citation (if one exists). The Bluebook requires a parallel cite to the regional reporter when citing to the public domain citation. This is not required by Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 6. See R. 10.3.3 (pp. 104-105), Table 1 (some jurisdictions).

IL Supreme Court Decision IL Appellate Court Decision IL Appellate Court Decision with subsequent rehearing
Cart v. Horse, 2011 IL 105432, ¶ 3. Cart v. Horse, 2011 IL App (3d) 103214, ¶ 13. Cart v. Horse, 2011 IL App (3d) 103214-B, ¶ 13.
Cart v. Horse Name of case / party names Cart v. Horse Name of case / party names Cart v. Horse Name of case / party names
2011 Year of the decision 2011 Year of the decision 2011 Year of the decision
IL Indicates this is an Illinois Supreme Court decision IL App (3d) Indicates this is an Illinois appellate court decision, and the court district IL App (3d) Indicates this is an Illinois appellate court decision, and the court district
105432 The full docket number 103214 The last 6 digits of the docket number 103214-B

The last 6 digits of the docket number with letter abbreviation appended. For example, a decision can be appealed, decided, and subsequently a rehearing granted. The decision of the appellate court in the rehearing will have the same docket number as the earlier decision, but with a letter abbreviation to distinguish different decisions in the same case.

Note: a decision containing a "-U" is a Rule 23 Order. Rule 23 Orders are unpublished decisions having no precedential value and may not be cited in Illinois courts.

¶ 3 Pinpoint cite to paragraph number, used in lieu of page numbers. When citing more than one paragraph, two paragraph symbols are used, e.g., ¶¶ 3-6 or ¶¶ 3, 5. ¶ 13 Pinpoint cite to paragraph number, used in lieu of page numbers. When citing more than one paragraph, two paragraph symbols are used, e.g., ¶¶ 3-6 or ¶¶ 3, 5. ¶ 13 Pinpoint cite to paragraph number, used in lieu of page numbers. When citing more than one paragraph, two paragraph symbols are used, e.g., ¶¶ 3-6 or ¶¶ 3, 5.

Citing IL Case Law - Slip Opinions, Cases Only Available Electronically, Parallel Cites

Slip Opinion: Cite to the case name, docket number, court, and exact date. See R. 10.8.1(b) (pp. 112-113), B10.1.4 (pp. 14-15).

Chatlas v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 1-07-2937 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. June 30, 2008).

Slip Opinion with pinpoint cite:

Chatlas v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 1-07-2937, slip op. at 2 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. June 30, 2008).

Pending & Unreported Cases Available in Electronic Format Only: See R. 10.8.1(a) (pp. 111-112), B10.1.4 (pp. 14-15).

Chatlas v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 1-07-2937, 2008 WL 2610471 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. June 30, 2008).

Chatlas v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 1-07-2937, 2008 Ill. App. LEXIS 655 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. June 30, 2008).

Parallel Citations: Use parallel citations when required by local rule or custom, or if they would be particularly helpful to the reader. See R. 100.3.1 (pp. 102-103), B10.1.3 (p. 14).

People v. Harston, 23 Ill. App. 3d 279, 319 N.E.2d 69 (2d Dist. 1974).

Citing Federal Case Law

Remember to look at the general abbreviation table (Table 6), R. 10, and Tables 1, 7, 8, and 10 for citation specifics.

Citation to the Federal District Court: See R. 10 generally (pp. 94-188), R. 10.4(a) (pp. 105-106) for court and jurisdiction information, Table 1 (pp. 233-236), B10.1.2 & .3 (pp. 12-14).  This sample is a case from the Northern District of Illinois.

United States v. Evergreen Media Corp. of Chi., 832 F. Supp. 1179 (N.D. Ill. 1993).

Citation to the Federal Appellate Court: sample is a case from the 7th Circuit.

United States v. Harris, 761 F.2d 394 (7th Cir. 1985).

Citation to the United States Supreme Court:

Pulley v. Harris, 465 U.S. 37 (1984).

Note: Most lawyers and courts (including the Supreme Court itself) use parallel citations to both the unofficial reporters S. Ct. (West) and L. Ed. 2d (Lexis) when citing to United States Supreme Court decisions. This practice is not required. When citing to the U.S. Supreme Court, you must cite to the U.S. Reports (U.S.); the parallel cites are optional. However if there is no U.S. cite yet, proper cite form dictates you use the format ___ U.S. ___, followed by a parallel cite to a printed source.

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