Case [from Print source using APA 5th ed.]


Because the situation regarding legal references is complex, and only US law is covered in the APA Manual, the following guidance is based on the system recommended by the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies. It should not be followed by any student submitting work to the Law Department of Portsmouth Business School, and students working in other departments should consult their lecturers.

The source of cases may be law reports or transcripts.

Neutral citations for cases were introduced from 2001 to recognise the extensive use of electronic law reports, and cite only the parties, year of the judgement, the court and the case number. For examples, the judgments on the BAILLI (British and Irish Legal Information Institute) website, use neutral citations.

Standard Form

Cases are not included in reference lists at all. However, on the first mention of a case a full citation is given stating:

Parties to the case *[year case reported] or (year case reported) Volume case reported in* Publication case reported in (usually abbreviated) Page or case number (depending on publication)

*The style in which the year is shown differs depending on the particular publication involved. Square brackets are used when the date is essential in order to find the right volume. Round brackets are used when the volumes are numbered sequentially from the first issue and the date is therefore not needed to find the case.

Thereafter the names of the parties italicised an accepted / recognised abbreviation of it can be used without the other details.


Foakes v Beer (1884) 9 App Cas 605

Rottman v MPC [2002] UKHL 20
(this is a neutral citation which identifies the 20th judgment in 2002 in the UK House of Lords)

Shepherd v Williamson & Anor [2010] EWHC 2375 (Ch)
(EWHC and EWCA identify the England and Wales High Court and Court of Appeal respectively. These abbreviations are generally followed by an abbreviation indicating the court or division (eg Admin, Ch, Crim, Pat))

First references to cases:-

St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocesan Board of Finance v Clark (No 2) [1975] All ER 772

Citation in Text

Later references to the above cases would simply use the case names:

... as stated by Megarry J. in St Edmondsbury and Ipswich Diocesan Board of Fianance v Clark (No 2) ...

... Foakes v Beer refers to the earlier case of ...

... as stated in Rottman v MPC...

Shepherd v Williamson & Anor refers to the case of...


  • Case names are always in italics. If you wish to pinpoint the exact location of a particular quotation or reference add "at p17" or "at para 3" depending upon the conventions of the particular publication you are using.