How to cite a court case in MLA

MLA court case citation

To cite a court case in a reference entry in MLA style 8th edition include the following elements:

  1. Name of the court: Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by ‘and’ and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson). For three or more authors, list the first name followed by et al. (e. g. Watson, John, et al.)
  2. Title of the case: Titles are italicized when independent. If part of a larger source add quotation marks and do not italize.
  3. Volume number: Give the volume number preceded by vol. (e. g. vol. 56).
  4. Publisher: If the name of an academic press contains the words University and Press, use UP e.g. Oxford UP instead of Oxford University Press. If the word "University" doesn't appear, spell out the Press e.g. MIT Press.
  5. Year of case: Give the year of publication as presented in the source.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a court case in MLA style 8th edition:

Name of the court. Title of the case, Volume number. Publisher, Year of case.

Take a look at our works cited examples that demonstrate the MLA style guidelines in action:


Court case example

Supreme Court of the United States.Gideon v. Wainwright,372.UScourts.Gov, 1963.

Court case example

Supreme Court of the United States.Hazelwood v Kuhlmeier,484.UScourts.Gov, 1988.

Note: Court cases are not explicitly covered by the MLA Handbook.

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