How to Cite Unreported Cases


In the event that a court did not deem a case significant or precedential, a decision may not be reported to print or online publications. The proceedings of these cases are, of course, maintained in the regional court records but are considered "unreported" or "unpublished" for the purposes of future legal citation. Citing unreported cases requires consideration of the presiding court's rules. For example, if unreported by the rule of res judicata, claim preclusion, the court documentation may not be used to re-open the case or alter a final decision.

  • Write the names of the parties in litigation. (e.g., Conrad v. Lithgow) Use a lower case "v" instead of spelling out versus, italicize or underline the text and end the phrase with a comma. Omit repeated words, list only the primary case names and use standard abbreviations. (See Resources)

  • Write the year in square brackets. (e.g., [1996])

  • List the case IDs. Use the unique court identifier if available. Include the reporter volume number, abbreviated reporter name and the page number that the case starts on in the volume. Separate multiple identifiers with a comma.

Tips & Warnings

  • Alternately, the court name and date, separated by a space, may be listed at the end of the citation in parenthesis. Do not include this information in the citation twice.


  • Photo Credit Books and glasses image by Alex Ishchenko from
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