Citation Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Citation, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Citation?

1\. It is an act of referring to previous court decisions, statutes and legal books on the basis of which the present trial can be based. 2. It also refers to the notice given by the court to the party of the lawsuit to appear in the court during the trial. It can be either for a petty offence, or civil cases or criminal cases. On getting such notice, it is essential for the party to appear in the court, failing which the court can release an arrest warrant. 3. Quoting words already quoted earlier by someone or somewhere.

History and Meaning of Citation

A citation generally refers to a reference to a legal authority such as a case, statute or rule in a legal document. The purpose of citing legal authorities is to provide evidence for legal arguments and help establish legal principles that will bind future cases. The use of citations in legal documents dates back to the 16th century when printed law reports started to become widely available.

In the United States, citations have different formats depending on the legal jurisdiction but generally include the name of the case, statute or rule, the volume and page number of the publication where it is found and the name of the court that issued the decision.

Citations also have another meaning, referring to the notice given to a person to appear in court. This can be for both criminal and civil cases and failure to appear can result in an arrest warrant or a default judgment.

Examples of Citation

  1. "The court cited the precedent set by Smith v. Jones in its decision."
  2. "The defendant failed to appear in court after receiving the citation from the judge."
  3. "The citation for the statute can be found in the third volume of the state code."
  4. "The plaintiff's brief included several citations to support their legal arguments."
  5. "The judge issued a citation for the witnesses to appear in court on the date of the trial."

Legal Terms Similar to Citation

  1. Precedent - a legal decision that serves as an authority for future cases.
  2. Statute - a law enacted by a legislative body.
  3. Brief - a written document submitted to a court containing legal arguments and authorities supporting a party's position.