Thursday, February 20, 2014

How do you solve a problem like ... citations?

The LACBA Appellate Courts Section listserve recently lit up about how to cite to multivolume records with tabs. The goal, of course, is to provide user-friendly citations that also comply with the rules (which require citation to volume and page, but not necessarily to tabs or lines).
Let's say you want to cite to page 625 in volume 3 of an appellant's appendix.
Here are some options:
3 AA 625
3AA 625
(Note that the first option will count as three words against your total word count, and the second will count as two words.) Some people still use roman numerals for volumes, e.g., AA III:625 or IIIAA625, etc.

Now, let's say you want to cite page 625 in volume 3 of an appellant's appendix, which has been tabbed, and that page is behind tab 14. Some options:
3 AA tab 14, 625
3 AA 14:625
3AA 625[tab 14]

Now, what if you have a span of pages, say 625 to 627, and what if those pages are RT pages that have line numbers too? You can end up with a real mess!
Too much can be a real problem.
There isn't a right answer to this question, and reasonable minds can differ. Some prefer all possible level of detail, some stick simply to the language of the rule -- supplying volume and page only. The only true answer is to comply with the rules and also apply some common sense. If there's a reasonable way to supply extra helpful information, and there's a reason to do so, then feel free to be creative.