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A paper commonly used in various courts—such as a probate, matrimonial, or traffic court—that is served upon an individual to notify him or her that he or she is required to appear at a specific time and place.

Reference to a legal authority—such as a case, constitution, or treatise—where particular information may be found.

Cases are published in a series of books called reporters, which are compilations of judicial decisions made in a certain court, state, or jurisdiction. Reporters are published in consecutively numbered volumes, each of which contains the most recently decided cases. When the volume numbers on a set of reporters get too high, the publisher will begin a new set with a new series of numbers.

To refer to a particular case in a reporter, a designation including the volume number, the name of the reporter, and the page number is given. If, for example, a case decided in the U.S. Supreme Court were cited as 60 S. Ct. 710, the case would be in volume 60 of the Supreme Court Reporter on page 710. To promote uniformity of citations, many lawyers and law students use The Blue Book: A Uniform System of Citation, commonly referred to simply as The Blue Book. This manual is published jointly by law schools at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania. Other citation manuals have also been published.When a court issues a citation, it orders a person to appear at a certain time and place. Failure by the person to adhere to the requirements in a citation results in punishment by the court. On appeal, a court may issue a citation of appeal, giving parties notice of the appeal and ordering them to appear in court. Issuance of a citation is required in order to give an appellate court jurisdiction over the appeal. The clerk of a court is generally required to issue a citation.

Police officers also issue citations for minor offenses, especially for traffic violations. The citation that an officer gives to a violator states the charge and requires an appearance before a judge on a specified date, subject to punishment for failure to appear. Citations issued by police officers for minor violations are typically only admissible for a criminal action that is based upon the violation. In most jurisdictions, evidence of an arrest from a citation is not admissible in a civil action based upon the same facts.


Legal Publishing.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. 1) a notice to appear in court due to the probable commission of a minor crime such as a traffic violation, failure to keep a dog on a leash, drinking liquor in a park where prohibited, letting a dog loose without a leash, and in some states for possession of a small amount of marijuana. Failure to appear can result in a warrant for the citee's arrest. 2) a notice to appear in court in a civil matter in which the presence of a party appears necessary, usually required by statute, such as a person whose relatives wish to place him/her under a conservatorship (take over and manage his/her affairs). 3) the act of referring to (citing) a statute, precedent-setting case or legal textbook, in a brief (written legal court statement) or argument in court, called "citation of authority." 4) the section of the statute or the name of the case as well as the volume number, the report series and the page number of a case referred to in a brief, points and authorities, or other legal argument. Example: United States v. Wong Kim Ark, (1898) 169 U. S. 649, which is the name of the case, the year when decided, with the decision found at volume 169 of the United States [Supreme Court] Reporter at page 649. A citation also refers to the case itself, as in "counsel's citation of the Wong case is not in point." (See: cite)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


1 the procedure of serving notice of court proceedings on a person, instructing them to attend.
2 reference to a precedent or other authority in a court or legal writing. So far as citation in court is concerned, English civil courts have detailed practice rules which restrict indiscriminate use of citations, especially those from lower courts or external jurisdictions. In this respect the Lord Chief Justice in 2001 was following in the steps of the Roman emperor Theodosius II whose Law of Citations of AD 426 laid down rules as to which jurists might be cited and in what rank of importance.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

CITATION, practice. A writ issued out of a court of competent, jurisdiction, commanding a person therein named to appear and do something therein mentioned, or to show cause why he should not, on a day named. Proct. Pr. h.t. In the ecclesiastical law, the citation is the beginning and foundation of the whole cause; it is said to have six requisites, namely.: the insertion of the name of the judge; of the promovert; of the impugnant; of the cause of suit; of the place; and of the time of appearance; to which may be added the affixing the seal of the court, and the name of the register or his deputy. 1 Bro. Civ. Law, 453-4; Ayl. Parer. xliii. 175; Hall's Adm. Pr. 5; Merl. Rep. h.t. By, citation is also understood the act by which a person is summoned, or cited.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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Post-Assessment After a semester-long faculty-librarian collaboration to help students learn to conduct research using library resources, and to avoid plagiarism by citing sources properly, students showed significant gains in database search skills, as well as their ability to avoid plagiarism.
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Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE: BAC), a wealth manager, is planning to sell its wealth management units outside the United States, Reuters has reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.
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A decision is expected to be announced next week when the Milan-based merchant bank board will approve its full-year results, the report said, without citing sources.
Arabic language daily Alrroya Aleqtissadiya, citing sources familiar with the matter, said on Wednesday the long-planned merger between Tamweel and rival Islamic mortgage lender Amlak had been scrapped.