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Citations: MLA Style (9th ed.)

A guide to writing and citing in MLA format.

Notes & Tips

Documenting legal works in MLA can be complicated, and there are lots of sources that fall under legal or government records.

The MLA recommends:

Nonspecialists can use MLA style to cite legal sources in one of two ways: strict adherence to the MLA format template or a hybrid method incorporating the standard legal citation into the works-cited-list entry. In either case, titles of legal works should be standardized in your prose and list of works cited according to the guidelines below.

Students and scholars working outside the legal profession and using MLA style should follow the MLA format template to cite laws, public documents, court cases, and other related material.

List from largest to smallest entity/level:

  • United States, Supreme Court.
  • United States, Congress, House.
  • Court Cases - use the date of the decision, not when it was filed.


As a self-contained document, treat like the title of an e-book (i.e. italics) in your Works Cited. However, when referring to it as a document in your paper, do not italicize.

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription. National Archives, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 28 Feb. 2017,

Parenthetical citation: (Constitution).
Narrative citation: As written in the Constitution of the United States, article 3...

Court Cases


United States, Supreme Court. Brown v. Board of Education. 17 May 1954. Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School,

Parenthetical citation: (United States, Supreme Court).


Note: there are 3 publishers in this example:

United States, Supreme Court. Obergefell v. Hodges. 26 Jun. 2015. Oyez, Legal Information Institute / Justia / Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech,

Parenthetical citation: (United States, Supreme Court).
Narrative citation: In Obergefell v. Hodges, the US Supreme Court decided...


United States, Supreme Court. Loving v. Virginia. United States Reports, vol. 288, 12 June. 1967, pp. 1-13. Library of Congress,


Library Database

United States, Supreme Court. Obergefell v. Hodges. 2015. Issues & Controversies, Infobase, 2018,

Parenthetical citation: (United States, Supreme Court).


Note that reports are treated like e-books, not articles, since they're self-contained documents.

Kan, Shirley A. Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990. Congressional Research Service, 29 Aug. 2014. Federation of American Scientist, 

Parenthetical citation: (Kan). (Kan 78).


Office on Violence Against Women. 2018 Biennial Report to Congress on the Effectiveness of Grant Programs Under the Violence Against Women Act. US Department of Justice,

Parenthetical citation: (Office on Violence Against Women). (Office on Violence Against Women 72).

Online Government Publication

"Librarians." Occupational Outlook Handbook, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16 Dec. 2019, 

Parenthetical citation: ("Librarians").