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How to Cite a Law in APA

What is a Citation in Law? The Importance of Correct Citing 

The citing in Law assignments and research papers is just as important in legal studies as in any other discipline. It helps to locate your sources and provide information regarding ideas that have been mentioned. When you cite the sources correctly with due accuracy, you also avoid plagiarism risks in your assignment writing. Regardless of your writing style, citing in Law uses standard legal references language that refers to specific legal documents, court hearings, statutes, and other legislation with precision. The references that are used at the end of the legal college paper also help to keep things structured with the help of abbreviations and special terms. 

When the citation in a legal paper is insufficient or lacks precision for a court case reference, college learners or publishers may end up with plagiarism issues or copyright infringements. Learning how to cite a law report or any other source will help you to stay safe. Therefore, it is vital to provide both in-text citations and references page. 

Law Citation Format in APA 

When you are planning to cite federal laws, American legal statutes, or acts by applying APA writing style, you must add the "U.S.C" prefix in your citation. It is also necessary to provide a title with the law's section, the year of first publishing, and the URL (if it is available digitally). Let us turn to an example:

Template: Name of chosen Law, Title number U.S.C. (or any other code) § Section number (Year). URL

Your in-text citation: (Congressional Commission on the Abolition of Modern-Day Slavery Act, 2005-2006) 

Bibliography Reference: Congressional Commission on the Abolition of Modern-Day Slavery Act, U.S.C. H.R. 6328 (2005-2006). https://www.congress.gov/bill/109th-congress/house-bill/6328

If the law that you cite does not have a single code or has no code per se for a public law or a legal document, provide a public law number in a database or mention the source by telling about where and how it is mentioned. Basically, provide as much law citation data for your college professor and the target audience. 

Special Symbols and Explanations  

The legal citations in the United States implement the "United States Code" abbreviation, which is also known as the "U.S.C" (US code). The laws that are related to relevant compilations are further divided into smaller chunks that are known as "Titles". As a rule, you should refer either to a complete title or sections. 

When you are dealing with a particular number of sections, it is necessary to use the special § symbol that you may have seen before in legal documents. You can navigate to the "Special Characters" part of MS Word and seek this symbol under the "section" part. 

In case you have to provide a legal citation that goes beyond a single section of the code, law, or statute, use the "et seq." prefix (meaning "and what follows" in Latin) right after the first section number. It must be placed in italics, according to the APA manual. 

For example: 

552a Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 5 et seq. (1974). 

Different Legal Sources: Citations With Examples 

If the law cited is not included in the U.S.C.

Use the public law number and any information that is cited: 

Template: Name of Law, Pub. L. No. Number, Volume number Source Page number (Year). URL (if available).  

In-text citation: (National Child Protection Act of 1993, 1993) 

APA Bibliography Reference: Child Protection Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 119-4, 126 Stat.7 (1993). 

Citing State Laws 

As a college student majoring in Law, you should cite various formats that relate to federal laws for the individual states. The "U.S.C." prefix is changed to an abbreviation for the specific law code related to your state. As for the titles and sections, they remain the same. You may also encounter articles or chapter numbers instead of titles. 

Here is how it appears in the example when you cite statuses or the local laws: 

Template: Name of Law, Title number Code Source § Section number (Year). URL

In-Text APA Citation: (Texas Heartbeat Act, 2021)

Bibliography Page Citation: Texas Heartbeat Act, Tx. Code 8.  § 87(R) HB 1515 (2021). https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/html/HB01515I.htm

Note: Make sure that you always check the legal code and see if there are already available citations in relevant formats. 

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