Law Research Guides: Legal Abbreviations

Last Updated: Sept. 19, 2014. AJB

References to cases, statutes, and other law-related items are often in an abbreviated format.  This can make locating cited material difficult for those who are unfamiliar with legal citation formats.  Listed below are samples of common citation formats, and a table of translations of some common legal citations along with their locations in the library.  Also included are some sources which are helpful when translating legal abbreviations. Below are sample citations.

 Examples

Cases

68 U.S. 455.

Statutes

8 U.S.C.A. 1101.

Fla. Stat. Ann. 397.705.

97 Stat. 78.

Regulations

12 C.F.R. 204.

Law Reviews

46 U. Miami. L. Rev. 119 (1991).

 Parallel Citations

Cases are often published, or reported, in more than one place.  You may see several citations following one case name.  These notations of all the reporters in which a case is published are called parallel citations.  For example:

United States v. American Library Association, et al., 539 U.S. 194; 123 S. Ct. 2297; 156 L. Ed. 2d 221 (2003).

In such cases you can choose which reporter you wish to use.  This is especially important with state cases where you may have to choose between a state reporter and a West Regional Reporter.

 Translations of Common Abbreviations

Abbreviations Translation Brief Example
A.
A.2d
West's Atlantic Reporter 126 A. 706 (1924).
570 A.2d 716 (1990).
B.R. Bankruptcy Reporter 134 B.R. 402 (1991).
Cal. Rptr. West's California Reporter 191 Cal. Rptr. 832 (1971).
C.F.R. Code of Federal Regulations 12 C.F.R. 204 (2014).
F.
F.2d
F.3d.
Federal Reporter 220 F. 383 (1915).
959 F.2d 1011 (1992).
171 F.3d 1364 (1999).
Fed. Reg. Federal Register 45 Fed. Reg. 81251 (Dec. 10, 1980).
Fla. Florida Reports 71 Fla. 714 (1916).
Fla. Admin. Code. Ann. Florida Administrative Code Annotated Fla. Admin. Code Ann. r. 9J-14.006 (1990).
Fla. L. Weekly Florida Law Weekly 31 Fla. L. Weekly D2289a (Sept. 1, 2006).
F.R.D. Federal Rules Decisions 141 F.R.D. 348 (1992).
F. Supp.
F. Supp. 2d
Federal Supplement 461 F. Supp. 160 (1978).
119 F. Supp. 2d 1288 (2000).
I. & N. Dec. Administrative Decisions under the Immigration and Nationality Laws 3 I. & N. Dec. 209 (1950).
L.Ed
L.Ed 2d
United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer's Edition 89 L.Ed 963 (1945).
92 L.Ed 2d 209 (1986).
N.E.
N.E.2d
North Eastern Reporter 172 N.E. 540 (1930).
496 N.E.2d 141 (1986).
N.W.
N.W. 2d
North Western Reporter 199 N.W. 410 (1924).
327 N.W. 2d 183 (1982).
N.Y.S.
N.Y.S.2d
West's New York Supplement 13 N.Y.S. 562 (1880).
58 N.Y.S.2d 140 (1943).
P.
P.2d
P.3d
Pacific Reporter 235 P. 150 (1935).
647 P.2d 697 (1988).
39 P.3d 174 (2002).
S. Ct. Supreme Court Reporter 102 S. Ct. 3348 (1982).
S.E.
S.E.2d
South Eastern Reporter 200 S.E. 542 (1938).
375 S.E.2d 785 (1988).
So.
So.2d
Southern Reporter 87 So. 664 (1921).
431 So.2d 515 (1983).
Stat. United States Statutes at Large 34 Stat. 225 (1905).
S.W.
S.W.2d
South Western Reporter 257 S.W. 354 (1924).
816 S.W.2d 614 (1991).
TC Reports of the United States Tax Court 80 TC 551 (1983).
T.C.M. (CCH)
T.C.M. (P-H)
T.C.M. (RIA)
Tax Ct. Mem. Dec. (P-H)
Tax Court Memorandum Decisions 51 T.C.M. (CCH) 477 (1986).
88 T.C.M. (P-H) 397 (1988).
99 T.C.M. (RIA) 287 (1999).
79 Tax Ct. Mem Dec. (P-H) 79.38 (1982).
U. Miami L. Rev. University of Miami Law Review 46 U. Miami L. Rev. 119 (1991).
U.S. United States Reports 68 U.S.C. 455.
U.S.C. United States Code 68 U.S.C. 2000(e) (2012).
U.S.C.A. United States Code Annotated 20 U.S.C.A. 1474.
U.S.C.S. United States Code Service 21 U.S.C.S. 331(e).

 Sources That Can Help Translate

  • Black's Law Dictionary, Reference Collection & Reserve Collection, Call Number KF156.B53 2014 (includes a table with many legal abbreviations).
  • Prince's Dictionary of Legal Citations: A Reference Guide for Attorneys, Legal Secretaries, Paralegals, and Law Students.  Reference Collection & Reserve Collection, Call Number KF246.B45 2011.
  • Prince's Bieber Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations: A Reference Guide for Attorneys, Legal Secretaries, Paralegals, and Law Students.  Reference Collection & Reserve Collection, Call Number KF246.B46 2009.
  • Florida Style Manual, Reserve Collection & Reference Collection, Call Number KFF75.F56 2001.
  • International Acronyms, Initialisms, & Abbreviations Dictionary, Reference Collection, Call Number P365.I57 2000 (contains meanings and abbreviations for a wide variety of organizations, publications and jargon).
  • Citing & Typing the Law: A Guide to Legal Citation & Style, Reserve Collection, Call Number KF245.G6 1992.
  • Communicating with Legal Databases: Terms and Abbreviations for the Legal Researcher, Reference Collection, Call Number KF242.A1 M33 1987.

 Internet Sources

  • GovSpeak: A Guide to U.S. Government Acronyms & Abbreviations
  • Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations A free, web-based service that allows users to search for the meanings of abbreviations in English language legal publications, including those covering international and comparative law.  The primary focus is on law reports and periodicals, but some major textbooks and legislative publications may be included as well.

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QUOTE
"Perhaps the two most valuable and satisfactory products of American civilization are the librarian on the one hand and the cocktail in the other."
- Louis Stanley Jast, Librarian

QUICKLINKS

Training
Library Hours
Library Staff
Ask a Librarian

ACCESSING DATABASES FROM OFF-CAMPUS OR USING WIRELESS
Instructions: Video  |  Text

HELPFUL PHONE NUMBERS

Library Reference: 305-284-3585
Library Circulation: 305-284-3563
Automated Operator: 305-284-2250
Copy Center: 305-284-3272
Computer Help Desk: 305-284-5297

 

QUOTE
"Perhaps the two most valuable and satisfactory products of American civilization are the librarian on the one hand and the cocktail in the other."
- Louis Stanley Jast, Librarian