Courtney Minick has written a post on Universal Citation for State Codes
over at VoxPopuLII, a blog published at the Cornell University Law School.
She discusses the spread of universal, or vendor-neutral, citation in the United States.
Neutral citation is an industry-independent identifier assigned by courts to their decisions. In other words, the way of identifying a case no longer needs to be tied to the citation practices of a specific publisher or law reporter. It has been widely adopted by Canadian courts and has had a significant impact on the development of case citators such as the freely available RefLex tool developed by CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute.
The bulk of the Minick article is devoted to developing neutral citation for state laws, but one detail attracted my attention. In contrast to Canada, the practice is still not very widespread South of the border:
"To date, 16 states assign universal citations to their highest court opinions. (To date, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have adopted universal citation for caselaw.) Illinois is the most recent state to adopt the measure (in June 2011)..."
In March 2010, Ivan Mokanov of the Université de Montréal, wrote on VoxPopuLII about neutral citation practices in Canada
. He pointed out that "nearly three quarters of citations to recent case law [in Canada] use the neutral citation".
Labels: legal research and writing