Sick of the cite of this thing.
October 18, 2012 11:02 AM   Subscribe

How do I cite a legal case in Microsoft Word?

I've been using MS Word's Source Manager to keep tabs on the sources I'm using. However, I've noticed some shortcomings in the categories it has under 'Types of Source'; in this instance, for legal cases.

The 'Case' category seems to be aimed at some other kind of case, as it calls for a 'Reporter' field to be filled. I know I can just manually type it out, but in later tasks I'm going to have to cite quite a lot more and that's going to get complicated very quickly.

So if for example I have the case Marc Rich & Co AG and others v Bishop Rock Marine Co. and others (1995) 3 All ER 307, how do I cram that into Word's Source Manager so that I can do the citation AND bibliography properly?

Word 2007 by the way.
posted by fearnothing to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
I am afraid I do not understand what your problem is. In the example you gave, "All ER" is the reporter abbreviation for All England Law Reports. So, the field of "Reporter" is well-suited for that case.

I don't know what sort of Anglo-American common law case isn't published in a reporter, but I am sure someone will tell me.
posted by Tanizaki at 11:20 AM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: "Reporter" is the law reporter that the case appears in. Law reporters are the books in which court cases are officially published. In this case, I believe "All ER" refers to the All England Law Reports. For some other examples, "F.3d" would refer to the third series of the Federal Reporter (U.S. federal appellate cases), "U.S." would refer to "U.S. Reports" (U.S. Supreme Court cases), and "N.W.2d" would refer to the second series of the North Western Reporter (state appellate cases from Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin). Etc. So "3 All E.R. 307" means "the third volume of All E.R. on page 307". See the "F.3d" and "N.W.2d" reporters? The first series (and second series, in the Federal Reporter) ran to so many volumes (pretty close to a thousand) that they just iterated the series number and started over at 1.

So you've already got the information you need. In the Bluebook citation format, that case would be cited as Marc Rich & Co v. Bishop Rock Marine Co., 3 All E.R. 307 (H.L. 1995), where the elements of the citation are: $casename, [$reporter volume] [$reporter name] [$reporter page #] ([$court] [$year]). Italics also work, but in some instances you'd use plain text. It depends on what you're doing. Most of the other major citation styles follow the Bluebook on this particular point.

So the fields you're going to use in your source manager are: Title ($casename), Reporter (All E.R.), Court (H.L, which is the House of Lords), and Year. You may actually want to stick the full reporter citation in the Reporter field, which would be 3 All E.R. 307, as there doesn't appear to be a place for the volume and page information.

I think that oughtta do it. And just in case it matters, you do know you're citing to an English case, yes? Because you are.
posted by valkyryn at 11:22 AM on October 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Well, that seems to cover everything! The 'reporter' thing kind of threw me off the scent. Thanks for being awesome again, MeFi!
posted by fearnothing at 11:28 AM on October 18, 2012

If you are writing a document for an English audience, rather than an American audience, you may prefer to use English citation style and a neutral citation rather than one that involves the All England Law Reports. BAILII cites this case as "Marc Rich & Co AG v Bishop Rock Marine Co Ltd [1995] UKHL 4 (06 July 1995)".
posted by grouse at 12:19 PM on October 18, 2012

Best answer: Brief correction to Valkyryn's awesome post - the [1995] (use square brackets) is also needed because it's the 3rd 1995 volume not the third ever. The volume numbers reset each year.
posted by crabintheocean at 3:37 PM on October 18, 2012

The Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities has the citation rules for British audiences.
posted by grouse at 3:46 PM on October 18, 2012

And just for total completeness if it's interesting to you - it's not necessarily a case that was heard or decided in 1995, it was reported in 1995. For recent cases it's generally the same, but some cases get reported long after they were heard. /first year law student
posted by crabintheocean at 8:28 AM on October 19, 2012

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