Monday, November 5, 2012

Writing Tip of the Week: Capitalizing "Court"

Rules B7.3.1 and 8 of the Bluebook explain when practitioners should capitalize the word “court” in court documents and legal memoranda.  Under these rules, capitalize “court” in the following three situations: 
1.  When “naming any court in full.” 
  • The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit addressed this question in Gove v. Robinson. 
2.     When “referring to the [United States] Supreme Court.” 
  • Justice Scalia wrote the dissenting opinion for the Court.  
3.     When “referring to the court that will be receiving that document.” 
  • This Court should deny the Motion for Summary Judgment. 
Otherwise, do not capitalize “court.” 
  • The Smith court considered whether a swimming pool was an attractive nuisance. 
  • The court in Wilson found the physician liable for failing to warn the victims about his patient’s threats against them.
The Bluebook:  A Uniform System of Citation R. B7.3.1, at 22, R. 8, at 84 (Columbia Law Review Ass’n et al. eds., 19th ed. 2010); see also Lawmanac—Clickable Help for Legal Writers, “Punctuation, Capitalization, & Typeface” (follow “Capitalization” hyperlink; then follow “Words in Text” hyperlink; then follow “Court” hyperlink) (C. Edward Good ed., 2009).