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University of Portland Clark Library

Chicago Style (17th Edition) Citation Guide: Government & Legal Documents

Common Abbreviations

  • House document (H. Doc.)
  • Senate document (S. Doc.)
  • House report (H. Rep.)
  • Senate report (S. Rep.)
  • Congress (Cong.)
  • Session (sess.)

Formatting

Bibliography:

All citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.

Footnotes:

All citations should use first line indent, where the first line of the footnote should be indented by 0.5 inches; all subsequent lines are not indented.

Footnotes should be the same font size and style as the rest of your paper.

See instructions for how to insert footnotes in Microsoft Word.

Tips

Author

A government document may either be written by a personal author, or the author may be the name of the agency that created the document. 

If there is no known author, start the citation with the title of the document instead.

Access Date

Chicago style does not recommend including access dates in the citation, unless no date of publication or last revision for the source may be located.

Government Document From a Website

Cite the author of the publication if the author is identified. Otherwise, start with the name of the national government, followed by the agency (including any subdivisions or agencies) that serves as the organizational author. For congressional documents, be sure to include the number of the Congress and the session when the hearing was held or resolution passed as well as the report number. US government documents are typically published by the Government Printing Office.

Bibliography:

U.S. Congress. House. Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. 112th Cong., 2d sess., H. Rep.112-445. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-111hhrg50208/html/CHRG-111hhrg50208.htm.

Footnote.

1. U.S. Congress, House, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, 112th Cong., 2d sess., H. Rep.112-445, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-111hhrg50208/html/CHRG-111hhrg50208.htm.

Government Document in Print

Bibliography:

Fletcher, Thomas C. Report of the Special Commission Appointed to Investigate the Affairs of the Red Cloud Indian Agency, July, 1875: Together with the Testimony and Accompanying Documents. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1875.

Footnote:

1. Thomas C. Fletcher, Report of the Special Commission Appointed to Investigate the Affairs of the Red Cloud Indian Agency, July, 1875: Together with the Testimony and Accompanying Documents (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1875): 25.

Court Decision

Bibliography:

Legal documents are only cited in the footnotes or within the text of your paper; they are not cited in the bibliography (unless the case is included in a secondary publication such as a book, in which case you would cite the book in the bibliography).

Footnote:

1. Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

Statute

Bibliography:

Statutes are only cited in the footnotes or within the text of your paper; they are not cited in the bibliography (unless the statute is included in a secondary publication such as a book, in which case you would cite the book in the bibliography).

Footnote:

1. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Pub. L. No. 104-191, § 264, 110 Stat.1936.

Unenacted Bill or Resolution

Bibliography:

Bills and resolutions are only cited in the footnotes or within the text of your paper; they are not cited in the bibliography (unless the bill/resolution is included in a secondary publication such as a book, in which case you would cite the book in the bibliography).

Footnote:

1. Anti-Phishing Act, H.R. 1099, 109th Cong. (2005).

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