Learning the California Style Manual for the first time?
The good news is that it's generally easier and less fussy than the Bluebook. For example:
- CSM does not have strict rules about approved sources- Lexis, Westlaw, and government websites are all usually fine.
- CSM generally requires less information than the Bluebook. Struggled to find the correct date for a statute? CSM doesn't require you to include one.
- CSM provides specific rules and examples for California materials such as Witkin, Rutter, and CEB.
- CSM is free on the Sixth District Appellate Program's website.
Don't throw away your Bluebook just yet, however- CSM sometimes refers you to the Bluebook for additional rules.
Additionally, there are a few rules that may take a little getting used to:
- CSM places the date parenthetical for cases, books, and law review articles after the case name or book or article title, instead of at the end of the citation.
- For California state cases, CSM requires you to cite the official reporters (Cal., Cal.App., Cal.App.Supp.), whereas the Bluebook requires you to cite West's National Reporter System (P. and Cal. Rptr.).
- For California statutes, CSM skips the Cal., often uses different abbreviations for the subjects, and requires you to use subd. or subds. to identify subdivisions.
- For books and law review articles, CSM uses only the author's last name, rather than their full name.
- CSM generally omits spaces in court abbreviations and reporters. (F.Supp.2d, not F. Supp. 2d. and C.D.Cal. not C.D. Cal.) Similarly, when citing law review articles, L. Rev. becomes L.Rev.
- CSM inserts a comma before § in California statutes and regulations and when citing encyclopedias and treatises divided into subjects. For example, Gov. Code, § 1, Cal. Code Regs., § 1, and Crimes Against the Person, § 512. In contrast, no comma is needed for federal statutes and regulations, formatted as 1 U.S.C. § 1 and 1 C.F.R. § 1.
Bluebook: Cal. Gov't Code § 1(b)
CSM: Gov. Code, § 1, subd. (b)
Bluebook: , 74 Cal. Rptr. 2d 804, 805 (Ct. App. 1998)
CSM: People v. Foranyic (1998) 64 Cal.App.4th 186, 188