Court case: how to cite in APA (7th ed.)?

Create a spot-on reference in APA 7 and 6

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General rules

The APA Manual of Style (7th ed.) states that the legal references (references to the legislation and to court decisions) should in general be compiled in accordance with the rules of the legal citation standards, with due account for the commonly accepted practices of particular countries and with some modifications to meet the APA format. APA Style itself, just as the other most popular international citation styles, is not adapted to legal citations and does not govern this aspect effectively.

However, the APA Manual of Style notes that the bibliographic reference to a court case most often contains the following elements:

  • case title;
  • details of the source where the decision was published (reporter title and volume, etc.);
  • date of decision;
  • URL.

Also, the manual provides the templates for referencing the decisions of some of the US courts, e.g. for the district courts:

Case title, volume F. Supp. page (Court year). URL

However, this template is obviously not suitable for countries other than the US. Therefore, taking into consideration the practices of APA Style as regards the adaptation of legal citations and the recommendations of The Bluebook and of universities, the web service Grafiati offers the following single bibliographic reference template that allows identifying uniquely the decisions of the courts of different countries:

Case title, Court Name, date of decision, decision number, Reporter title, reporter details (Country). URL

N.B.: In the reference, give only the fields relevant for a particular country. For example, the elements Case title, Reporter title, reporter details, etc. will be unnecessary in many cases.

N.B.: The element Country is omitted when the country is known from the name of the court.

See also how to reference a law/act in APA (7th ed.).

Examples of references

According to the rules of the APA Manual (U.S.)

Amizola v. Dolphin Shipowner, SA, 354 F. Supp. 2d 689 (E.D. La. 2004).

Based on the Grafiati template

Cour d'appel d'Angers, 1 mars 2016, RG, 13/03164 (France).

Chen Weng Khiong vs Chen Kim Siong, High Court of Brunei Darussalam, January 30, 2019, Civil Suit No. 83 of 2017.

Other citation styles: