Citing to Court Rules
Bluebook Rule 12.8.3 provides citation form guidelines and examples for federal and state rules of evidence and procedure.
A date is not used in a citation to a court rule of evidence or procedure. Rule 12.8.3 states that the researcher should use abbreviations such as those given in the examples listed in the Rule, or abbreviations suggested by the name of a particular court rule, which will vary from jurisidiction to jurisdiction.
- Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)
- Fed. R. Evid. 403
- 4th Cir. R. 4(a)
- Md. R. 2-231
- Mich. Ct. R. 3.501
A list of commonly used general-jurisdiction form books and practice guides appears in the TMLL Guide to Legal Research "Practice Materials and Form Books." Here are some practice pointers:
- A jurisdiction (i.e., the federal government or each state) may have rules of civil procedure, criminal procedure, appellate procedure, and evidence, among others. There may also be procedural law that appears in the substantive statutes of the jurisdiction, such as statutes of limitations and jurisdictional and venue provisions.
- Usually the jurisdiction's rules are published as part of its code, and contain annotations to interpretive cases, which must be researched to determine how a rule has been applied. Annotated rules are available both in print and on Lexis and Westlaw. Many court Internet sites also include rules.
- Forms are often included in the rules volumes. More extensive sources of forms are listed here. Always use forms with caution to make sure that they are not outdated or do not precisely fit your situation.
- There are many treatises that provide commentary on procedural rules as well as citations to interpretive cases.
Federal Court Rules
Federal court rules and procedures fall into four categories:
- Rules of general application that apply nationwide, such as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
- Rules for the various types of federal courts, such as the United States Supreme Court, the Bankruptcy Courts, or the Tax Court
- Local rules of individual federal courts;
- Other provisions in Title 28 of the U.S. Code ("Judiciary and Judicial Procedure") that also contain procedural law
- Both U.S.C.S. and U.S.C.A., the annotated versions of the federal code, include federal procedural rules.
- Cases interpreting the federal rules can be researched by using the Federal Practice Digest, which indexes cases reported in Federal Supplement (F.Supp.) and Federal Rules Decisions (F.R.D.)available in print and online in legal databases
- Two additional sources that digest and report federal procedural case law are the Federal Rules Service and the Federal Rules of Evidence Service. Each of these is a self-contained set that allows you to identify and read the full text of cases applying the federal rules. Find out if your employer's library carries these services.
Maryland and Other State Rules
The Maryland Rules, including the rules of procedure and evidence, are published as part of both print versions of the Maryland Annotated Code, Annotated Code of Maryland / Md. Code Ann. (Lexis Law Publishing) and West's Annotated Code of Maryland. These print versions of the Maryland Code also contain local federal court rules and other rules, as well as some forms. Other substantive provisions related to procedural matters appear in the Courts and Judicial Proceedings article of the Maryland Annotated Code.
Both Lexis and Westlaw provide coverage of rules, including annotations, for all 50 states. Rules can be searched for individual states or in various combined databases. The Maryland Rules can also be accessed free here.
Many state courts publish their rules on their Web sites. Several sources include:
- FindLaw- U.S. State Laws- Cases, Codes, Statutes, and Regulations
- Legal Information Institute "Constitutions and Codes"
- American Law Sources Online "United States"
Lexis and Westlaw also provide some coverage of treatises and practice materials for various states. Look in the database directories under the specific jurisdiction or under "Treatises, CLE, and Practice Guides" on Westlaw or under "Secondary Legal" on Lexis. For an extensive list of Maryland practice materials and form books owned by many law libraries, see the TMLL Guide to Legal Research "Maryland Practice Materials."