The Bluebook: Short Guide on Bluebook Citation

The Bluebook is an American set of legal citation guidelines and rules regarding referencing official documents. Both law students and professionals use it in court proceedings, police reports, and official government documents. Additionally, this method applies to the citation of news coverage regarding governmental occurrences. Take a look at this guide from professional essay writing service to learn all about Bluebook citation, and it’s usage.

What Is a Bluebook?

The Bluebook citation format is a source system which involves a set of rules for referencing among law students and those in practice. In other words, it’s the legal way to reference scholars of law. The citation format, itself, was created and agreed upon by law professors at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania.

It contains something known as blue pages which act as rules and a thesis regarding the references made by lawyers and law to students. Both the Bluebook online and soft-copies illustrate numerous guidelines regarding the rules of referencing while producing legal writing. The first nine pages being general rules, the second ten pages talk about the required materials as the final two pages state the rules for citing international law papers and elements.


Where Is the Bluebook Used?

This set of guidelines applies to law students, professional judges, lawyers, law enforcement agencies, and politicians. Bluebook is used to cite passages within legal writing; including sources made by officials, judges, lawyers, authorities, and news coverage of applied governmental situations. In university dissertations and documents produced by professionals. Hence, it is essential to learn to write under Bluebook legal citation.

A selected handful of law students manages the independently-run Harvard Law Review organization whose agenda is to produce and publish their journal. Each segment of this journal contains citations under the Bluebook journal abbreviations. These journals include various block quotations from multiple authors and legal cases.

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What Elements Make Up the Legal BlueBook?

Front Cover:

  • Footnotes regarding peer reviews and legalization.

Table of Contents:

  • Blue-pages: These pages illustrate the non-academic protocol for citing legal documents.
  • White Pages: The opposite by illustrating the academic protocol for citing legal documents.
  • Tables which include general information regarding the Bluebook.


  • Specifies the guidelines and introduces citing legal documents for writers and law professionals.
  • Mentions the complicated questions regarding the correct method for legal citations.

Guidelines 1-9:

  • Specifies the current regulations and methods for citing legal documents.

Guidelines 10-19:

  • Specifies the instructions that control the way legal documents and materials from foreign countries

Guidelines 20-21:

  • Specifies the general directives of citing information concerning the law of the other territories.

Lists T1 – T16:

  • Includes all of the general guidelines which are to concerning orders 1-21.
  • Provides advice regarding legal citation and ground guidelines concerning the authorities.
  • Includes a list of Bluebook abbreviations.


  • Allows writers to locate through the different citation rules quickly.

Back of the Bluebook:

  • Includes brief instructions to writing with citations concerning court proceedings & historic legal documents in the non-academic format of referencing.

Back Cover:

  • Provides a list that includes the contents of the book.

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Understanding Bibliography

According to the Bluebook format, the bibliography should incorporate citations at the end of a piece of writing. When it comes to the list, students and professionals are required to cover every citation which they have made from A-Z. It is necessary not to add page numbers; and the line which follows the first should be indented. As an option, the writer’s name can be written in a slightly bigger font.

Bibliography Example:
Full-Name – Elton, Gill. (Surname & First Name)

Understanding Footnotes

When it comes to academic papers within the field of Law, footnotes should be included in succession to the information, and not prior. Remember to include the full names of each writer in their normal order. It is also essential to include your footnotes in numerical order while being indented. Keep in mind, footnotes should be included on the bottom of the page. As the writer, you are permitted to use semicolons for multiple legal citations within a footnote.

Footnote Example:
Footnotes, 1. Full-Name – Gill Elton. (In Normal Order)

Bluebook Citation Examples

Keep in mind that there are multiple variations when it comes to making a legal reference. It is essential to learn how to use different methods by referring to Bluebook citation examples. Learning all of the differences is important before writing a law-based paper. For example, court proceedings (Party 1 Vs. Party 2), and tabloids (Writer and Heading) are completely separate.

Court Proceedings

Court proceedings always conclude with legal documents based on the judge’s orders as the final result. Courts also produce transcripts of everything which occurred during the case, as well as written letters and evidence analysis documents. According to Bluebook law, there is a specific way to reference materials of this type. It is also essential to include brief information in the footnotes, which goes as follows:


Defendant/Organzation| V. | Defendant/Organization | Correspondent Folio | (Occurrence Year) The State of Texas v. Ray Maxwell, 452 D. BVV. 3d 231 (J. Vast. 2018)


Correspondent Folio | Occurrence Year
452 D. BVW, 3d 231 (J. Vast. 2018)

Books Produced by One or Multiple Writers

Books which are produced by one writer are cited slightly different compared with those by two or more writers. The main difference being both names stated at the beginning of the footnote. This method applies to the works of a single writer. Apart from that, there are no other differences in the Bluebook book citation method.

Keep in mind that it is vital to include the topic of the publication. The version follows it, then the year. This rule applies to those who reference one or multiple 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)

Journalism plays a significant role in informing of legal processes. Whether it’s citing printed or online newspapers, it is essential to include the writer’s name, the topic of the article, the name of the paper, and the year of publication. It is followed by the foliate number or a URL address, depending on if the tabloid is in a printed or online form.


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

Printed News Reports:

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

Online News Reports:

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

Legal Scholarly Texts

When it comes to citing legal passages from scholars and lawmakers, students are required to state the name of the writer, article heading, volume number, the title of the journal, the title of the first page, and the year of publication. It applies to statements made in official government documents and the works from scholars of law, which is worth learning about when writing a Bluebook citation law review article.


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

Bluebook Website Citation

Writing using a Bluebook website citation is permitted among those studying or practicing law. There is a unique method that goes into writing the bibliography for this form of Bluebook citation. Writers are supposed to write the topic, webpage, date of publication, URL address, and the time of the 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


In conclusion, following the specific guidelines, as stated by the Bluebook, enables the ability to write using law citations. The standard citation method used by both practicing professionals and students allows for the quotation of court cases, news ports, and statements made to the local authorities. Meaning, mastering this format brings the opportunity to boost your GPA with better references. It is also highly beneficial for legal practice in the future.

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