LawProse Lesson #131: When should you capitalize “court”?

LawProse Lesson #131: When should you capitalize “court”?

When should you capitalize court? Capitalize court in legal documents in only four situations: 1.  When you’re referring to the United States Supreme Court {the Court’s opinion in Marbury v. Madison}. 2.  When you’re stating a court’s full name {the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit} {the Michigan Supreme Court}. 3.  When you’re referring to the court you’re currently appearing before {Allied asks this Court to grant its motion for summary judgment against Peterson}. 4.  When you’re referring to the highest tribunal within the system in which you’re appearing. So if you’re in Arizona, capitalize court when referring to the Arizona Supreme Court. But if you’re in California, do not capitalize court when referring to the Arizona Supreme Court by less than its full name. When referring to any other court by partial name, or to lower courts in general, don’t capitalize court {the argument in the trial court} {the tax court’s decision} {the federal court affirmed}. Sources: The Redbook § 2.12, at 69 (3d ed. 2013). The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation R. 8, at 85-86 (19th ed. 2010). ALWD Citation Manual § 3.33, at 27-28 (4th ed. 2010). The Winning Brief (3d ed. forthcoming). Thanks to Robert J. Welsh for suggesting this topic.

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