Citation In Case Laws

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

The term citation is  term used for itentifying a case law/judgments. Case citation is citing references used by legal professionals. It helps them to understand the decisions of the case.

Reading a Case Citation

Cases are published in reporters. A case citation is generally made up of the following parts:

Parties involved in the legal disputes, mostly its the title of the Case Laws.

Name of the court that passed the judgments.

Journal Citation is the Law Journal in which the case law is reported.  This is the one that is generally important. In our course the citation based to journal is the data points that is to be generated and stored for all the research work and case law to be in a structured format\. Generally the journal citation is provided for reportable judgements. The reportable judgements / case laws are printed in various law journals. These citation are mostly used by the arguing advocates while refrencing a judgments as precedence of judgements.

Following is the format of a citation for any law journal that is mainly a break up of 3 parts.

  1. Name of the Journal
  2. Volume number of the Law Journal with year. 
  3. Page number on which the case begins the year the case was decided; 

1,2  is related with the citation nomenclature of the reportable judgments published in any law journal. So, a journal citation is a combination of three entities (ABBREVIATED JOURNAL NAME ) (YEAR)( VOLUME) (PAGE NO.)

Some examples of Citation relevant to law journals

a. 1991 2 SCC 439 : (Year) (Volume) (Abbreviated Journal Name) ( Page Number)-- This is the format of the Journal name "Supreme Court Case law"

b. 1978 SCR (2) 621 : (Year) (Abbreviated Journal Name) (Volume) ( Page Number)-- This is the format of the Journal name "Supreme Court reporter"

in the above two the position of the volume has change for two different law journals.

c. 1978 AIR 597,   :  (Year)  (Abbreviated Journal Name) ( Page Number) -- Format of Law Journal "All India Reporter".

d. 2000 CriLJ 569  :  (Year)  (Abbreviated Journal Name) ( Page Number) -- Format of Law Journal "Criminal Law Journal".

Consider the above examples of citation nomeclature of indian law journal Supreme Court Case law (SCC) and All India Reporter (AIR)  (first and last entities are Year and Page Number. Second and Third entiies in the two different journal (a,b)  have been interchanged as postion for volume and Name. While if we observe another (c,d) journal AIR, the volume is missing and the citation nomeclature comprises of three entities only.

All students who are generating the citation data points have to follow the follow format. Following format/nomenclature for the citation to be used for the data poijts in the various research courses, whereever applicable. The above examples of the citation are to be generated as follows


 a 1992 SCC 2 439
 b 1978 SCR 2 621
 c 1978 AIR NA 597
 b 2000 CriLJ NA 569


It’s important that citations follow a standard format so that whoever is trying to read them will find it easy to understand. Citation formats are there for many different legal matters which include cases, statutes and secondary legal materials. Citations also help lawyers and students to easily look up case files and documents they are searching in a pile of other documents.