Order Of Authorities Law and Legal Definition

In formal legal writing, the sources that follow each signal should be arranged according to their order of importance. First, group sources by the signal that will introduce them. Give each group of sources its own citation sentence. Next, arrange citation sentences according to the proper signal order. Finally, arrange sources within each citation sentence as presented here. However, if a source is considerably more helpful or authoritative, it may be presented first after a signal regardless of the standard order. If choosing to depart from the standard order, a parenthetical should be added that indicates why the source is unusually important.

The following is an example for Standard Order of Sources with regard to citing Constitutions.

a) U.S. Federal Constitution

b) U.S. state constitutions, alphabetically by state

c) Foreign, alphabetically by jurisdiction

d) Foundational documents of the United Nations, League of Nations, and European Union (in that order)

If Constitutions are from the same jurisdiction, then cite most recent first and continue towards earliest.