How to Cite Laws


Citing laws and legal documents properly can be a somewhat complicated task. For in-text citation and usage, the titles of laws and legal documents are not italicized or placed in quotation marks, unlike other titles. An in-text citation of a law in Modern Language Association (MLA) format is a shortened or abbreviated version of the law's title in parentheses, with the page number or page numbers for the specific quote used as necessary. In MLA format, a works cited entry for a law has six elements that identify the specific law.

Things You'll Need

  • "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition" or "The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation" by Harvard Law Review
  • Write the name of the law without italics or quotation marks. Follow the law's name with a period. An example is: Aviation and Transportation Security Act.

  • State the law's Public Law number. An example of the format is: Pub. L. 114-53.

  • Write the law's Statutes at Large volume number and the page numbers the law covers. End that information with a period. Use the format in this example: 113 Stat. 587-602.

  • State the date on which the law was enacted, using the day, month, year format followed by a period. An example is: 20 Oct. 2010.

  • State the publication medium of the copy you have in hand followed by a period. The medium may be print, web or other. An example for print as the medium is:

    Aviation and Transportation Security Act. Pub. L. 114-53. 113 Stat. 587-602. 20 Oct. 2010. Print.

Tips & Warnings

  • Leave only one space after each period to conform to MLA guidelines.


  • "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition"; 2009
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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