Three letter acronyms, the Bluebook, and Indigo Book. Abbreviations and more.
(1200 words, mostly cut and paste tables)
Lawyers are verbose yet hate making things easy to read. They will use Latin when English will do just as well. They will abbreviate words in non-standard ways, they will make use of lingo and terms of art at every chance. Often, it feels like they want to make their work as opaque as possible.
Like every code, there is a codebook which explains how to encode and decode their secret messages. The official codebook of the lawyer creed is The Bluebook® A Uniform System of Citation®. Every official abbreviation is in this “book”.
If you are interested in using the Blue Book reference, prices tart a $39/year for personal use.
The Indigo Book is
An Open and Compatible Implementation of A Uniform System of Citation — The Indigo Book
They are not authorized by nor in any way affiliated with the Blue Book people.
I have been told that I am starting to use too many abbreviations and that is making my articles more difficult to understand.
So you get some parts of the Indigo Book.
T9. Required Abbreviations for Court Names
Table 9 describes what abbreviations are used when citing to a particular court. As an example, “D.” refers to a Federal District Court while “Dist. Ct.” refers to a State District Court.
|Administrative Court||Admin. Ct.|
|Admiralty [Court, Division]||Adm.|
|Aldermen’s Court||Alder. Ct.|
|Appeals Court||App. Ct.|
|Appellate Court||App. Ct.|
|Appellate Department||App. Dep’t|
|Appellate Division||App. Div.|
|Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals||ASBCA|
|Bankruptcy Appellate Panel||B.A.P.|
|Bankruptcy [Court, Judge]||Bankr.|
|Board of Contract Appeals||B.C.A.|
|Board of Immigration Appeals||B.I.A.|
|Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences||B.P.A.I.|
|Board of Tax Appeals||B.T.A.|
|Borough Court||<Name> Bor. Ct.|
|Chancery [Court, Division]||Ch.|
|Children’s Court||Child. Ct.|
|Circuit Court (old federal)||C.C.|
|Circuit Court (state)||Cir. Ct.|
|Circuit Court of Appeals (federal)||Cir.|
|Circuit Court of Appeals (state)||Cir. Ct. App.|
|City Court||<Name> City Ct.|
|Civil Appeals||Civ. App.|
|Civil Court of Record||Civ. Ct. Rec.|
|Civil District Court||Civ. Dist. Ct.|
|Claims Court||Cl. Ct.|
|Commerce Court||Comm. Ct.|
|Common Pleas||C.P. <when appropriate, name county or similar subdivision>|
|Commonwealth Court||Commw. Ct.|
|Conciliation Court||Concil. Ct.|
|County Court||<Name> Cty. Ct.|
|County Judge’s Court||Cty. J. Ct.|
|Court of Appeal (English)||C.A.|
|Court of Appeals (federal)||Cir.|
|Court of Appeal[s] (state)||Ct. App.|
|Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces||C.A.A.F.|
|Court of Civil Appeals||Civ. App.|
|Court of Claims||Ct. Cl.|
|Court of Common Pleas||Ct. Com. Pl.|
|Court of Criminal Appeals||Crim. App.|
|Court of Customs and Patent Appeals||C.C.P.A.|
|Court of Customs Appeals||Ct. Cust. App.|
|Court of Errors||Ct. Err.|
|Court of Errors and Appeals||Ct. Err. & App.|
|Court of Federal Claims||Fed. Cl.|
|Court of [General, Special] Sessions||Ct. <Gen. or Spec.> Sess.|
|Court of International Trade||Ct. Int’l Trade|
|Court of Military Appeals||C.M.A.|
|Court of Military Review||C.M.R.|
|Court of Special Appeals||Ct. Spec. App.|
|Court of Veterans Appeals||Ct. Vet. App.|
|Criminal Appeals||Crim. App.|
|Criminal District Court||Crim. Dist. Ct.|
|Customs Court||Cust. Ct.|
|District Court (federal)||D.|
|District Court (state)||Dist. Ct.|
|District Court of Appeal[s]||Dist. Ct. App.|
|Domestic Relations Court||Dom. Rel. Ct.|
|Emergency Court of Appeals||Emer. Ct. App.|
|Equity [Court, Division]||Eq.|
|Family Court||Fam. Ct.|
|High Court||High Ct.|
|Judicial District||Jud. Dist.|
|Judicial Division||Jud. Div.|
|Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation||J.P.M.L.|
|Justice of the Peace’s Court||J.P. Ct.|
|Juvenile Court||Juv. Ct.|
|Land Court||Land Ct.|
|Law Court||Law Ct.|
|Law Division||Law Div.|
|Magistrate Division||Magis. Div.|
|Magistrate’s Court||Magis. Ct.|
|Municipal Court||<Name> Mun. Ct.|
|Orphans’ Court||Orphans’ Ct.|
|Parish Court||<Name> Parish Ct.|
|Police Justice’s Court||Police J. Ct.|
|Prerogative Court||Prerog. Ct.|
|Probate Court||Prob. Ct.|
|Public Utilities Commission||P.U.C.|
|Real Estate Commission||Real Est. Comm’n|
|Recorder’s Court||Rec’s Ct.|
|Special Court Regional Rail Reorganization Act||Reg’l Rail Reorg. Ct.|
|Superior Court||Super. Ct.|
|Supreme Court (federal)||U.S.|
|Supreme Court (other)||Sup. Ct.|
|Supreme Court, Appellate Division||App. Div.|
|Supreme Court, Appellate Term||App. Term|
|Supreme Court of Errors||Sup. Ct. Err.|
|Supreme Judicial Court||Sup. Jud. Ct.|
|Surrogate’s Court||Sur. Ct.|
|Tax Appeal Court||Tax App. Ct.|
|Teen Court||Teen Ct.|
|Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals||Temp. Emer. Ct. App.|
|Trademark Trial and Appeal Board||T.T.A.B.|
|Traffic Court||Traffic Ct.|
|Tribal Court||<Name> Tribal Ct.|
|Water Court||Water Ct.|
|Workmen’s Compensation Division||Workmen’s Comp. Div.|
|Youth Court||Youth Ct.|
T12.1. U.S. States, Cities and Territories
|West Virginia||W. Va.|
|District of Columbia||D.C.|
|American Samoa||Am. Sam.|
|Northern Mariana Islands||N. Mar. I.|
Federal Northern District Court of Texas the required abbreviation would be “N.D. Tex.” and I’m not sure about the space after “D.”. Somewhere in the Indigo Book, it would tell me.
R7.2 Ordinal Abbreviations in Citations
Rule 7.2 tells us how to abbreviate numbers. Which is why it is the 5th Cir. or Fifth Circuit but not 5th Circuit.
Ordinal abbreviations are used for the court/year parenthetical in a case citation, the numerical designation of a Congress, a publication’s addition number, and other contexts. See Rule R11 generally and Table T1 for the United States Courts of Appeals (i.e. the various federal circuit courts). In citations and in textual references, ordinal abbreviations do not use superscripts. In citations, abbreviations for “second” and “third” use ordinal style references 2d and 3d, respectively. Extrapolate to larger ordinal numbers ending in second or third, such as “twenty third” becoming “23d” in a citation.
- 1st Dist.
- 2d Cir.
- 2d ed.
- 3d Dist.
- 4th Cir.
- 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd
- 4th Cir.
- 5th Dist.
Ordinals are also used in federal case citations:
- F. Supp. 2d
Do not abbreviate the ordinal in a citation to the Restatement either in textual sentences or citations:
- Restatement (Second) of Torts (Am. L. Inst. 1977)