University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation Online

The newest version of the University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation, known as the Maroonbook, is available online in PDF. This brief — 77 page — competitor to the Bluebook is not directly applicable to us here in Canada, of course, but may assist with material filed in the United States. And it serves to remind us that we, too, ought to have available to us a free, online manual.

We’ve mooted this on Slaw a number of times, and, if some irons I’ve got in the fire at the moment get hot in the next few weeks, I’ll have more to say on a possible Slaw project to create such a manual.

Of interest, perhaps, is the fact that the Maroonbook advises us to “[o]mit periods and apostrophes whenever possible.” Slawyer Gary P. Rodrigues addressed the pesky point in The full stop in legal citation – has its time finally come?

[via @cottinstef @montserratlj]


  1. Hi Simon: subject to the issue of having absolutely zero time to develop some sort of online Canadian legal citation guide for free, I remain game.

    Despite being one of the loudest critics of the McGill Guide, I have been conservative when it comes to periods and full stops and have not been comfortable with doing away with them. However, as hinted by Gary’s post, I think that has more to do with the appearance without periods as seeming different. I like neutral citations for their cleanness of look, so it really shouldn’t be any different – D.L.R. and DLR mean the same thing. It will just take a while to get used to DLR.

  2. Of course, as Cardiff reminds us, it also stands for
    Discrimination Law Reports United Kingdom
    Dhaka Law Reports Bangladesh
    Deutsche Lebensmittel-Rundschau Germany
    Directors Law Reporter Australia
    Dacca Law Reports Pakistan

  3. Am I alone in thinking that making this available in PDF (in effect a flat print version of the Manual) is a cop-out and that we should now be producing XML enriched versions or even embedding Code to make citation something that becomes automatically corrected.
    Surely the legal publishers must have thought through a lot of these issues in making citators available in online form.

  4. I think the only way for an alternative to the McGill style to get any traction would be to offer significant incentives, especially to librarians, who could be early adopters and reliable promoters. For me, interoperability is key. The various bibliographic projects I have on the go would benefit enormously from an XML-ized and simplified style. As the person who introduces our law students to the concept of citation managers, who trains them, and who advises on which software to choose, I look for technical solutions that wlll not require me to hire a programmer, as I am currently contemplating regarding fitting the McGill to Zotero, since McGill is so complex and does not provide any help.

  5. Simon,
    An American law student colleague of mine said about your article,

    Just thought you should know that this little post saved my life … or at least many hours of fruitless and wrong citations.

    My Canadian peers have used more colourful language than that.

    Law students have all the incentive in the world, and maybe we could start there.

  6. From an accessibility standpoint, a non-pdf format would make the tool easier for print-disabled users. I understand that pdf documents do not currently work well with screen readers.

  7. Speaking as a law student I, for one, would greatly appreciate quick and convenient access to a comprehensive online citation manual.

    Following up on Simon Chester’s comment, I’d even suggest that an electronic manual could do more than present information visually. E.g.: Why not include a citation checking form?