offered by
related to

Massachusetts legal writing and citations

Includes information about reading and writing legal citations compiled by the Trial Court Law Libraries.

Table of Contents

Writing legal citations

Supreme Judicial Court Style Manual, SJC Office of the Reporter of Decisions, 2016-2017
"The manual may be useful to those preparing appellate briefs."

The University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation (The Maroonbook), 2018 edition
Designed as an alternative to the Bluebook, "the Maroonbook, as this manual is commonly called, offers a simple, malleable framework for citation, one which authors and editors can tailor to suit their purposes."

Reading legal citations

General guide

Reading Legal Citations, Boston College Law Library. This is a great source on how to read legal citations in general.

Quick guide to understanding Massachusetts citations

The information below is a "quick and dirty" guide to common Massachusetts citation forms and what they mean. In most cases, they are not the proper forms for citing sources in a legal document. These will help you read, but not write, Massachusetts citations.

Statutes

Citations to Massachusetts laws will typically look like 1 of the following:

M.G.L. ch.93A §1
M.G.L.A. ch.93A §1
A.L.M. ch.93A §1

All of these refer to Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 93A, section 1. The different abbreviations simply refer to the same laws published by different companies.

Cases

The most common case citations are to Mass. Reports, Mass. Appeals Court Reports, or the Northeastern Reporter. These look something like this:

Tyree v. Keane, 400 Mass. 1, 507 N.E.2d 742 (1987).

This refers to volume 400 of Massachusetts Reports, page 1 or volume 507 of Northeastern Reporter 2d, page 742. The same case is found in those 2 locations. The Mass. citation is the "official cite," the NE2d citation is the "unofficial" citation. When sources talk about "parallel" citations, they mean different citations to the same case. This is the same case appearing in 2 different books. The unofficial reporter includes some additional editorial content, but the text of the case itself is exactly the same as in the official.

Comm. v. Thomas, 19 Mass. App. Ct. 1, 471 N.E.2d 376 (1984)

Similarly, this refers to volume 19 of the Massachusetts Appeals Court Reports, page 1 or volume 471 of Northeastern Reporter 2d, page 376.

Regulations

Usually, references to Massachusetts regulations will look like:

102 CMR 2.00

This is Title 102 of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, section 2.00.

Print sources

Contact

Phone

Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only

Online

Reference librarians online Chat with a law librarian 
Reference librarians via email masslawlib@gmail.com

Address

Administrative office (no law library at this location)
2 Center Plaza
9th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: April 18, 2018

Feedback

Did you find what you were looking for on this webpage? * required
We use your feedback to help us improve this site but we are not able to respond directly. Please do not include personal or contact information. If you need a response, please locate the contact information elsewhere on this page or in the footer.
We use your feedback to help us improve this site but we are not able to respond directly. Please do not include personal or contact information. If you need a response, please locate the contact information elsewhere on this page or in the footer.

If you need to report child abuse, any other kind of abuse, or need urgent assistance, please click here.

Feedback