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Bluebook Legal Citation

A guide to legal citation using Bluebook rules.

The Greenbook

Rather than supplanting the Bluebook, the Greenbook supplements it with regards to citation issues that are unique to Texas. Where the rules conflict, you should follow the Greenbook when citing Texas authorities.

Most citation in the Greenbook follows Bluebook style. Below are some notable features from the Greenbook about Texas citations.

  • Under Chapter 4 (Court of Appeals), a full citation in Texas should include:
    • the volume and page of the South Western Reporter,
    • a paranthetical notation of the court that decided the case, an em dash (—) followed by the cite of the court,
    • the date,
    • the writ history or petition history,
    • any subsequent history,
    • and interlocutory orders if appropriate
  • Under Chapter 6 (Mandamus and Other Original Proceedings)
    • You should cite mandamus cases and other original proceedings in the Texas Supreme Court in the same manner as other Texas Supreme Court cases.
    • However, you should also include "orig. proceeding" in a separate paranthetical after the date paranthetical. 
  • Under Chapter 7 (Trial Courts), citation to trial court cases must include
    • case name,
    • cause number,
    • a paranthetical indicating the court, county, and exact date
  • Under Chapter 10 (Texas Statutes) 
    • The Greenbook requires citations to the Texas code to include "West" in the parenthetical before the date to note the publisher of the official Texas code. In the past, the Greenbook required "Vernon's" instead of "West," but the most recent edition brings the citation in line with the Bluebook.
    • There are two independent codes in Vernon's Annotated Revised Civil Statutes of the State of Texas that are still not entirely superseded by the Texas code: the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and the Texas Probate Code. 
    • To cite session laws, you should include
      • the name of the statute
      • the legislature and session of enactment
      • the chapter and session number of the statute
      • the publication 
      • and the future location in the code
    • The Greenbook allows citation to electronic databases if a print version is not available or if including a parallal citation provides direction or clarification. 
      • If you cite to a electronic database, you must include in the parenthetical the name of the database provider and the date through which it is current.
      • You may not cite to the Texas Legislative Council's electronic database of Texas statutes. 
  • Under Chapter 14 (Legislative History)
    • 14.1.1: Unenacted bills are cited by: the bill number, legislature number, session, and year. Include "R.S." for a regular session of the legislature or "C.S." for a called session
    • 14.2: House and Senate Journals citations should include the chamber, legislature, number, session, page, and year
  • Under Chapter 18 (Books) 
    • 18.1: If you cite a book that is frequently cited in Texas (like a Dorsaneo practice guide), you should include: 
      • volume, if more than one
      • author
      • title
      • page or section number,
      • edition, if more than one
      • date of publication

Electronic Greenbook & Manual on Usage and Style

Texas Law Review offers the GREENBOOK and MANUAL ON USAGE AND STYLE through the Rulebook App.
Go to https://texaslawreview.org/ordering/.  Use the 'Rulebook App' download on the bottom right.

Both titles are also available at Amazon.com, and orders can be placed through TXShop (https://utdirect.utexas.edu/txshop/list.WBX?component=0&application_name=LOLSPUBS&cat_seq_chosen=04&subcategory_seq_chosen=003).