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Style Guide

Styling Guidelines for Academic Writing at Eternity

Citing Sources - Government & Legal Documents

Government Document From a Website

Statute

Court Decisions

Bill or Resolution


Tips: For public documents, include in your citations as much identifying information as you can, format the elements consistently, and adapt the general patterns outlined here. The examples below show how to format common types of public documents that are available.

  • name of the government that issued the document
  • title of the document
  • name of the individual author, if given
  • report number or other identifying information
  • date of publication
  • page numbers, if relevant
  • a URL, for sources consulted online

Common Abbreviations

  • House document (H. Doc.)
  • Senate document (S. Doc.)
  • House Report (H. Rep.)
  • Senate Report (S. Rep.)
  • Congress (Cong.)
  • Session (sess.)

 

General Format for Public Documents

Note 1. Name of the government and government body that issued the document, Title of the Document, Name of the author, Report number, Date of Publication, page numbers or locations. URL or name of database for sources consulted online.
Bibliography Name of the government and government body that issued the document, Title of the Document, Name of the author, Report number, Date of Publication, page numbers or locations. URL or name of database for sources consulted online.

Government Document From a Website

Note 1. Select Committee on Holeland Security, Homeland Security Act of 2002, 107th Cong., 2d sess., 2002. HR Rep. 107-609, pt. 1, 11-12.
Bibliography US Congress, House. Homeland Security Act. 107th Cong, 2d sess. HR Rep. 107-609, pt. 1. 2002. 11-12.

 

Statute

Statues, which are bills or resolutions that have been passed into law, are first published separately and then collected in the annual bound volumes of the United States Statutes at Large. Later they are incorporated into the United States Code. Section numbers in the Code are preceded by a section symbol §.

Note 1. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Pub. L. No. 104-191, 264, §110 Stat. 1936.
Bibliography Statues are only cited in the footnotes or within the text of your paper; they are not cited in the bibliography (unless the statute is included in a secondary publication such as a book, in which case you would cite the book in the bibliography).

 

Court Decisions & Legal Cases

Note 1. Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
Bibliography Legal Documents are only cited in the footnotes or within the text of your paper; they are not cited in the bibliography (unless the case is included in a secondary publication such as a book, in which case you would cite the book in the bibliography).

Bill or Resolution

Congressional bills (proposed laws) and resolutions are published in pamphlet form. In citations, bills and resolutions originating in the House of Representatives are abbreviated HR or H. Res., and those originating in the Senate S. or S. Res.

Note 1. Anti-Phishing Act, H.R. 1099, 109th Cong. (2005).
Bibliography Bills and resolutions are only cited in the footnotes or within the text of your paper; they are not cited in the bibliography (unless the bill/resolution is included in a secondary publication such as a book, in which case you would cite the book in the bibliography).

Government Document From a Website

Statute

Court Decision

Bill or Resolution


Tips: For public documents, include in your citations as much identifying information as you can, format the elements consistently, and adapt the general patterns outlined here. The examples below show how to format common types of public documents that are available.

  • name of the government that issued the document
  • date of publication
  • title of the document
  • name of the individual author, if given
  • report number or other identifying information
  • page numbers, if relevant
  • a URL, for sources consulted online

Common Abbreviations

  • House document (H. Doc.)
  • Senate document (S. Doc.)
  • House Report (H. Rep.)
  • Senate Report (S. Rep.)
  • Congress (Cong.)
  • Session (sess.)

 

General Format for Public Documents

Reference List Name of the government and government body that issued the document. Date of Publication. Title of the Document. Name of the author. Report number. page numbers or locations. URL or name of database for sources consulted online.
Parenthetical Citation (Name of government body that issued the document Year of Publication, pp-pp)

Government Document From a Website

Reference List US Congress, House of Representatives, Select Committee on Homeland Security. 2002. Homeland Security Act of 2002. 107th Cong, 2d sess. HR Rep. 107-609, pt. 1. URL.
Parenthetical Citation (US House 2002, 81-82)

Statute

Reference List Homeland Security Act of 2002. Public Law 107-296. US Statues at Large 116 (2002): 2135-321. Codified at US Code 6 (2002).
Parenthetical Citation (Homeland Security Act of 2002, 2163-64)

Court Decision

Reference List United States v. Christmas. 222 F.3d 141 (4th Cir. 2000).
Parenthetical Citation

(United States v. Christmas 2000)

To cite a legal case in your text, give the name of the case and the date. For example... "this principle was best exemplified by United States v. Christmas (2000).

 

Bill or Resolution

Reference List US Congress, House. 2016. Email Privacy Act. H. Res. 699. 114th Cong., 2d sess. Congressional Record 162, no. 65, daily ed. (April 27): H2022-28.
Parenthetical Citation (US House 2016, H2022)