Citing a contract usually involves referring someone to a section of a contract or directly quoting a section of the contract. Citing contracts is an important part of business correspondence.

Bluebook Citation Rules

The Bluebook provides uniform rules for citation that are useful when writing legal briefs. Bluebook citation rules can be used for a variety of legal documents:

  • Cases
  • Statutes
  • Regulations

Contracts are not public record, which means a citation would be useless unless a person actually has access to the contract. Before a contract can be successfully cited, you first need to attach it as an exhibit. Then, you can cite the appropriate section of the contract. Every court can have different citation rules.

Citing an academic paper is much different than citing a contract filed with the court. Instead of using Bluebook citation rules, you should use Chicago or MLA rules to cite an academic paper. If citing an unpublished paper, cite using rule 17.1.

Citing a Contract in a Letter

The signing of a contract doesn't mean that business correspondence will come to an end. In fact, after signing a contract, there may be several instances where you will need further discuss the contract using letters. Consider a contract between a university and a professor on a tenure track. After the professor signs the contract, they may receive several letters discussing contractual terms, such as when they will start working and when their benefits will begin. A supervisor in a company may need to cite a contract in a letter to an employee or a client.

There are several ways of citing a contract in a letter. For instance, you could direct someone to the section of the contract that contains pertinent information. A letter sent from a university to a tenure-track professor discussing their benefits, for example, could direct the professor to the section of their employment contract that describes when their benefits will start. There is no need to use formal citation rules in these circumstances. Simply list the page number of the contract and the relevant section.

In some circumstances, you may need to directly quote the contract in a letter instead of just making a reference. Quoting a contract can be useful if the contract includes complex language or is very long. When quoting a contract, you should write the quote and then include the page number and section where the quote can be found.

If you cite a contract in a letter, you should inform the recipient that you can provide them a copy of the contract if necessary. Include contact information such as your phone number or email address so the recipient can contact you if they need a copy of the contract or have any questions about your letter.

Citing Legal Materials

When you are citing legal materials, your best bet is to stick with the Bluebook style. These rules are very clear and should make it easy for you to cite a legal document.

If you need to include an APA reference list for your legal citations, there are a few simple rules that you should file. First, you should treat your citations as if they were works without authors. Second, make sure you order your citations alphabetically.

Citing Sources

The Bluebook is the most common citation guide used for legal research. This guide differs from the APA and MLA guides through its uses of footnotes when making citations, instead of parenthetical references. Using the Bluebook is usually recommended when you write a document that heavily references legal materials. You can, however, cite legal materials using APA, Chicago, and MLA style. Each style guide includes a section that covers the citation of legal materials.

In the APA manual, Appendix 7.1 offers instructions for citing legal materials. The citation rules in this section combine APA and Bluebook style. If you choose to cite legal materials using APA style, you should be aware that these rules are most commonly used in the United States, meaning they may not be appropriate in other countries. To find rules for citing legal sources in the MLA Style Handbook, check Section 5.7.14. In Section 5.5.20, you can find rules for citing publications from the government.

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