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Legal Citation

Tips and tricks for starting out with the Bluebook, ALWD, or other legal citation guide.

Citing from Foreign Law Materials

Rule 20 of the Bluebook covers the citation method of foreign law materials with Table 2.  The rule and table does not specify all foreign countries'  legal citations. It includes considerations of jurisdiction (Rule 20.1); documents not available in English (20.2); specific rules for cases (20.3), Constitutions (20.4), statutes (20.5); and periodicals (20.6).

Check this chart to see if your country of interest is included in the Bluebook.

Non-English-Language Documents

Rule 20.2 of the Bluebook covers the citation method of law materials only available in a language other than English. Authors should provide the full title in the original language the first time the document is cited (R 20.2.2). If desired, authors may provide a full-length or short-form English title in brackets after the original title. Abbreviations in a language other than English should be elongated to provide the full form (R 20.2.3).

Example: Jacqueline N. Font Guzman, La Ciudadania Puertorriquena [Puerto Rican Citizenship], 91 Rev. Jur. U.P.R. 835 (2022).

For languages that do not use a Roman alphabet, all titles and names should be transliterated, e.g. using the ALA-LC Romanization Tables (R 20.2.4). Rule 20.2.4(b) gives detailed instructions and examples for Chinese language romanization.

Rule 20.2.5 provides instructions for citing to a source that is translated in a separate work.

Citing from Treaties

Rule 21.4 of the Bluebook covers how authors cite from treaties. The formation of the citation is based on whether the USA is a party to the treaty. Check the parties of a treaty via HeinOnline's United Nations Law Collection.

Authors should cover following elements when they cite from a treaty : 

[Treaty name], [Abbreviated names of treaty parties (include only if treaty is between 2 parties)], [Reference to a specific treaty article (example: art. 1) or subdivision], [Date of Signing (or, if parties signed treaty on different dates: date opened for signature, approved, ratified or adopted & indicate significance of date in italics)], [Treaty Source(s)].

Example, a bilateral treaty where U.S. is a party:

Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income, U.S.-Austl., art. 1, Aug. 6, 1982, 35 U.S.T. 1999. 

Example, a multilateral treaty where U.S. is a party:

Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies art. 6, adopted Dec. 5, 1979, 18 U.S.T. 2410, 610 U.N.T.S. 205.

Example, a multilateral treaty where U.S. is not a party:   

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties art. 32, opened for signature May 23, 1969, 1155 U.N.T.S. 331.

Country Coverage Comparison Chart

Country NYU Guide Bluebook
Argentina (Argentine Republic) pp. 3-7 T2.1
Australia pp. 9-13 T2.2
Austria pp. 15-19 T2.3
Belgium (Kingdom of Belgium) pp. 21-24 T2.4
Brazil Republic of Brazil) pp. 25-29 T2.5
Canada pp. 31-34 T2.6
Catholic Church pp. 25-29 T2.7
Chile (Republic of Chile)   T2.8
China (People's Republic of China) pp. 35-39 T2.9
Colombia (Republic of Colombia) pp. 349-51 T2.10
Czech Republic pp.41-44 T2.11
Denmark pp. 45-49  
Egypt (Arab Republic of Egypt) pp. 51-55 T2.12
El Salvador    
Ethiopia pp. 57-59  
Finland pp. 61-64  
France (Republic of France) pp. 65-70 T2.13
Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) pp. 71-77 T2.14
Greece pp. 79-83 T2.15
Hong Kong pp. 85-88 T2.16
Hungary (Republic of Hungary)   T2.17
India pp. 89-95 T2.18
Iran (Islamic Republic of Iran)   T2.19
Iraq (Republic of Iraq)   T2.20
Ireland (Republic of Éire) pp. 97-101 T2.21
Israel pp. 103-08 T2.22
Italy (Republic of Italy) pp. 109-13 T2.23
Ivory Coast    
Japan pp. 115-19 T2.24
Kenya   T2.25
Lebanon (Republic of Lebanon)   T2.26
Malaysia pp. 121-22  
Mexico (United Mexican States) pp. 123-28 T2.27
Morocco (Kingdom of Morocco) pp. 129-32  
The Netherlands (Kingdom of the Netherlands) pp. 133-37 T2.28
New Zealand pp. 139-42 T2.29
Nicaragua   T2.30
Nigeria pp. 143-46 T2.31
North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of North Korea)    
Norway pp. 147-49  
Pakistan (Islamic Republic of Pakistan) pp. 151-54 T2.32
The Philippines pp. 155-59 T2.33
Poland pp. 161-64  
Roman Law   T2.35
Romania pp. 164-68  
Russian Federation (Russia) pp. 169-74 T2.36
Saudi Arabia (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) pp. 175-77  
Singapore pp. 179-82  
Slovakia (Slovak Republic)    
Slovenia (Republic of Slovenia)    
South Africa (Republic of South Africa) pp. 183-86 T2.37
South Korea (Republic of Korea) pp. 187-79 T2.38
Spain (Kingdom of Spain) pp. 191-94 T2.39
Sudan (Republic of Sudan)    
Sweden pp. 195-97 T2.40
Switzerland pp. 199-203 T2.41
Taiwan (Republic of China) pp. 205-08 T2.42
Tanzania pp. 209-12  
Thailand pp. 213-15  
Turkey pp. 217-20  
United Kingdom
(England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland)
pp. 221-26 T2.43
Zambia (Republic of Zambia)   T2.44

For those countries listed with no corresponding page numbers, please see WashU's International Citation Manual.