Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

The Tarlton Law Library is open at this time with access limited to current UT Law students, faculty, and staff. Members of the UT Austin community unaffiliated with the law school may contact the Circulation Desk (, 512-471-7726) for assistance with accessing library resources. Online reference services are also available. Please see the Tarlton Reopening FAQs and the Texas Law Fall 2020 Reopening Plan for additional details

Tarlton Law Library logo Texas Law Home Tarlton Law Library Home
Today's Operating Hours:

Bluebook Legal Citation

A guide to legal citation using Bluebook rules.

Order of Authorities

Bluebook Rule (21st): 1.4

Law Review Typeface: Varies By Document Type

Rule 1.4 deals with the order of authorities within each signal.  The main authority being cited, or whichever is most useful, if any, should always be cited first.

Previous versions of Rule 1.4 provided exhaustive, almost prescriptive details for how various specific authority types (constitutions, statutes, treaties, etc.) should be ordered when they are equally relevant or important. The current version of Rule 1.4 in the 21st Edition of the Bluebook abandons that approach. Instead, it simply advises that authorities "should be ordered in a logical manner," and separated by a semicolon.

Generally speaking, this will mean ordering the authorities based on three characteristics:

1) Type of authority;

2) Jurisdiction; and 

3) Hierarchy and/or Chronology

When in doubt, consider consulting prior versions of Rule 1.4 (Bluebook 20th Edition or earlier). Also keep this change in mind when reviewing older citations for guidance, as the order of authorities within older citations was driven by more specific requirements.