APA-Style Citation of a Case Complaint


College students are frequently told to cite their sources. Citing sources is important for giving credit to others whose work you are using and supporting the validity of your research. However, citing sources can be a challenge, especially when citing unusual materials. It is easy to figure out how to cite a book or a journal article, but other documents such as case complaints are more difficult. The American Psychological Association does have guidelines for citing legal documents such as case complaints.

Cite the Complaint In Text

  • The in-text citation for a case complaint is the case name and year, for example, (Smith vs. Jones, 1998). Cite it at the end of a sentence after referencing the case.

List Page Number

  • The first piece of information needed on your references' page is the page number. It should be written as follows: "Complaint at [page number]."

List the Case Name

  • The next piece of information to be listed on the References page is the case name, for example, "Smith vs. Jones."

List the Name of the Court and Year

  • The name of the court and year follow the complaint number, in parentheses: ([name of court] [year]).

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