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What UniversalCitation.Org is and why it is being formed:

In the late 1990's, the American Bar Association, American Association of Law Libraries, and many others looked to the future of legal information and saw the need for change. As the country and our courts shifted to a digital environment, they saw the need for a new way to refer to court decisions and other documents on which the law depends. With the potential for great increases in the availability of legal information, there needed to be a citation style that did not depend on the increasingly outdated print editions that used to be the basis of legal references.

As of this date, several American jurisdictions have adopted a Universal Citation format, but most have not.1 There are a variety of reasons why courts have hesitated to adopt Universal Citation, but given its success as a citation form in the jurisdictions that have adopted it, and the ease with which it has been adopted in Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and elsewhere, its value and utility are hard to deny.2

Given this the continued reliance on print citations, and the restrictions that this places on open access to the law 3, it is necessary to act. Universalcitation.Org is being organized to fill the gap. Our aim is to provide the organizational infrastructure needed to facilitate the adoption and use of a uniform set of media and vendor neutral citations that can be used for all American court decisions.

For more information about what UniversalCitation.Org aims to be, please read this paper written by Professor Peter Martin, Jane M.G. Foster Professor of Law, Emeritus.

For further information, contact John Joergensen, Rutgers - Camden School of Law. e-mail: jjoerg-AT-camden.rutgers.edu.


The July 25, 2011 was a great success, with many great ideas shared, and plans for moving forward. See Meeting Minutes, above for a summary of the proceedings. In addition, See Prof. Peter Martin's presentation on the history and issues involved in medea and format neutral citations HERE.

Courtney Minick, of Justia, has published an article, Universal Citation for State Codes on the Cornell VoxPopuLII Blog.

Conveners of UniversalCitation.Org:

1The history of Universal Citations in the United States is well documented, and available and can be seen in articles such as this one: Martin, Peter, Neutral Citation, Court Web Sites, and Access to Authoritative Case Law , 99 Law Lib. J. 329 (2007), available at: http://www.aallnet.org/main-menu/Publications/llj/LLJ-Archives/Vol-99/pub_llj_v99n02/2007-19.pdf
2 See, e.g. the jurisdictions that participate in the LII movement: http://www.worldlii.org.
3 The restriction on open access that is posed by our continued reliance on print citations is discussed at length here: Gallagher, Ian, “Cite Unseen: How Neutral Citation And America's Law Schools Can Cure Our Strange Devotion To Bibliographical Orthodoxy And The Constriction Of Open And Equal Access To The Law” (2007) College of Law Faculty Scholarship. Paper 2. http://surface.syr.edu/lawpub/2.