Citation templates

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General considerations

Article titles

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Articles on cases should be titled according to the legal citation convention for the jurisdiction that handled the case. However, criminal trials that are notable for the people or crimes involved, not for the legal precedent they set, should be titled "Trial of (defendant)" or another commonly recognizable name. Examples include Trial of Oscar Pistorius, Trial of Anders Behring Breivik, Trial of Saddam Hussein, Trial of Susan B. Anthony, and O. J. Simpson murder case.

In Australia

Melbourne University Law Review Association Inc. in collaboration with Melbourne Journal of International Law Inc. Melbourne 2018 (2018–2019). Australian Guide to Legal Citation (PDF) (4th ed.). ISBN 9780646976389. Republished in 2019 with minor corrections.

In Canada

The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, prepared by the McGill University Faculty of Law, is the most commonly cited guide. It is a proprietary source and is only available by purchase.

There are also two specific wikipedia articles which may be of assistance: Case citation: Canada and Citation of Canadian legislation.

In New Zealand

New Zealand Law Style Guide format.

In the United Kingdom

In Scotland, the more serious criminal cases, likely to have a Wikipedia article, are brought by Her Majesty's Advocate, and are titled e.g. HM Advocate v Sheridan and Sheridan. However, less serious cases are brought by a procurator fiscal; these do not have a clear convention on Wikipedia at present.

In the United States

Article content

Broad areas of law

Writing about particular cases

Writing about particular concepts


Names of judges

Citations and referencing

Referencing style

While any citation style may be used in an article (see WP:CITEVAR), for articles on cases, case law, or subjects which use a large amount of case law, it is recommended that editors use the referencing style for the jurisdiction that heard that case or for which that legal subject applies.

Citing legal materials

Cite to legal materials (constitutions, statutes, legislative history, administrative regulations, and cases) according to the generally accepted citation style for the relevant jurisdictions. If multiple citation styles are acceptable in a given jurisdiction, any may be used, but be consistent, and consider using the most common. Also consider using the citation style used in secondary sources (such as law reviews or academic journals) rather than the citation style used by a practitioner's legal briefs or a court's decision.


The following guidelines will be generally useful in many jurisdictions:

In general
  • Where both primary and secondary sources are available, one should cite both. While primary sources are more "accurate", secondary sources provide more context and are easier on the layperson. Where primary and secondary sources conflict factually, the primary source should be given priority.
  • When a case has been published in an official reporter (e.g. the United States Reports), editors should cite the version of the case that appears in the official reporter.
Case citations
Citation signals
  • Avoid citation signals when possible. On Wikipedia, the use of Id., supra, and infra are discouraged, as are internal cross-reference signals to another footnote. This is due to the fact that any reference may be edited or changed, and render the cross-reference signal inaccurate.


See Category:Law citation templates.

External links