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MLA Citation Guide (MLA 8th Edition): Government and Legal Documents

Legal Citations

Because of the complexity of legal citations, MLA follows a legal citation style guide for citing sources such as legislation and case law. Legal citations in your Works Cited list will look significantly different from other material that you may cite. In the MLA Handbook, government/legal sources are address in section 2.1.3. 

For a guided work-through of citing legal sources in MLA style, go to the MLA website or reference the examples included here. 

The citations on this handout are recommended examples for entries in a works cited list. They have not been approved by the editorial board of the Modern Language Association. Consult your instructor or editor for specific elements of citation style. Citations should always be double-spaced on a works cited list.

Explanation of Formats for Legal Citations

Citations to legal information sources such as US Reports, the US Code, the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations are given in two formats. The first is the legal citation style used in The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, 19th ed. (Harvard Law Review Association, 2010). The second format conforms closely to the examples in Diane Garner’s The Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources: A Manual for Social Science & Business Research (3rd ed., rev. by Debora Cheney. Congressional Information Service, 2002). Where Garner's sample citations to legal information differed significantly from MLA style, a citation was constructed to conform to MLA standards for a source published in a non-government periodical, such as a popular magazine.

Below, are examples of the two citation formats mentioned above:

US CODE

Uniform System Citation (Bluebook):

16 U.S.C. Sec. 668 (1988).

Recommended Garner-style Citation:

"Protection of Bald and Golden Eagles." Title 16 US Code, sec. 668, Government Printing Office,1988, pp. 839-846.

(US) CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS

Uniform System Citation (Bluebook):

Admission of Refugees, 8 C.F.R. pt. 207 (1992).

Recommended Garner-style Citation:

"Admission of Refugees." Title 8 Code of Federal Regulations, pt. 207, 1992, pp. 104-106.

Government Citation Examples

City Government Publication (Reno, Nevada)

Reno [Nevada]. Opportunities for Citizen Participation in Reno City Government: Boards, Commissions and Committees. Reno, 1995.

State Agency Publication (Nevada)

Nevada, Department of Transportation. Travel Demand Analysis of Selected Small Urban Areas of Nevada. Nevada. Department of Transportation [1996].

US Census Data (Via American Factfinder)

"DP04. Selected Housing Characteristics, 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates. Gabbs CDP, Nevada." American FactFinder, Bureau of the Census, 2016, factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/14_5YR/DP04/. Accessed 19 August 2016.

US Federal Agency Report With Corporate Author

United States, National Park Service. Final General Management Plan, Environmental Impact Statement. Glacier National Park: Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, the World's First International Peace Park, a World Heritage Site. National Park Service, 1999.

US Federal Agency Report With Personal Authors

Borrie, William T., and James A. Harding. Effective Recreation Visitor Communication Strategies: Rock Climbers in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana. US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station [2002], www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_rn015.pdf. Accessed 12 January 2016.