Thursday, January 10, 2008

Arkansas Supreme Court nixes Bluebook-only proposal

Today the Arkansas Supreme Court published a per curiam opinion adopting and declining to adopt various proposed changes to the Arkansas court rules. Among the changes the court declined to adopt was a proposed amendment to Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 5-2, which would have, among other things*, mandated certain unique citation formatting for Arkansas citations and changed another court rule to require Bluebook citation format for citations to cases from other jurisdictions.

I wrote to the court during the comment period, expressing my concerns about the proposed requirement and urging the court to accept citations prepared in either Bluebook or ALWD Citation Manual format. This flexibility is important because students in the state's two law schools learn citation from both manuals (Bluebook in Fayetteville, ALWD in Little Rock). Moreover, when citations are rendered in practitioner format, it's pretty much impossible to tell which citation manual the writer followed.

Another person opposing the change was the court's Reporter of Decisions, one of my former students, who was in my legal writing class the year the first edition of the ALWD Citation Manual was published. As she wrote to the court, she still consults the ALWD Citation Manual to clean up citations in the opinions drafted by Arkansas's appellate courts before publication.

*As reported on this blog on May 30, 2007, the other things included a proposal to allow citing of unpublished opinions as precedent, probably a far more important aspect of the amendment, which I'll treat in a separate posting.

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