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Chicago/Turabian Format Style Guide: Public Documents

This guide will assist in writing papers using the Chicago or Turabian style in the correct format as well as creating citations.

Notes-Bibliography Style

Include as many of the following elements in your citation as possible:

  • name of the government (country, state, city, county, or other division) and government body (legislative, executive, court bureau, commission, board, committee)
  • title, if any
  • name of the individual author, editor, or compiler
  • report number or other identifying information (place of publication, publisher)
  • date of publication
  • page numbers or other locators, if relevant
  • URL or name of the database if consulted online

In general, list the elements in the order listed above.


1. Select Committee on Homeland Security, Homeland Security Act of 2002, 107th Cong., 2nd sess., 2002, HR Rep. 107-609, pt. 1, 11-12.

Bibliography: US Congress, House of Representatives, Select Committee on Homeland Security. Homeland Security Act of 2002.107th Cong., 2nd sess., 2002, HR Rep. 107-609, pt. 1,

Congressional Publications

For congressional publications, bibliography entries generally begin with 'US Congress' followed by 'Senate' or 'House of Representatives.' This can be simplified to 'US Senate' or 'US House,' and in notes, you may omit 'US.' Common elements include committee and subcommittee, the title of the document, number of the Congress and session ('Cong.' and 'sess.'), date of publication, and number and description of the document.  


Debates have been published since 1873 in the Congressional Record (Cong. Rec.).  Whenever possible, cite the permanent volumes.  When necessary, you may include a speaker in the debate, the subject, and a date.


1. Cong. Rec., 110th Cong., 1st sess., 2008, vol. 153, pt. 8: 11629-30.

2. Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts, speaking for the Joint Resolution on Nuclear Weapons Freeze and Reductions, on March 10, 1982, to the Committee on Foreign Relations, SJ Res. 163, 97th Cong., 1st sess., Cong. Rec., 128, pt. 3:3832-34.

Bibliography: US Congress. Congressional Record. 110th Cong., 1st sess., 2008. Vol. 153, pt. 8.

Reports and Documents

When citing reports and documents of the Senate (S.) or House of Representatives (H. or H.R.), include the Congress and session numbers, and if possible the series number.


3. Declarations of a State of War on Japan, Germany, and Italy, 77th Cong., 1st sess., 1941. S. Doc. 148, serial 10575, 2-5.

Bibliography: US Congress, House. Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Cyber-Enabled Activities. 114th Cong., 1st sess., 2015. H. Doc. 114-22.


Bills and Resolutions

In citations, bills and resolutions from the House of Representatives are abbreviated HR or H. Res., while those from the Senate are abbreviated S. or S. Res.  Include publication details in the Congressional Record if available.  If a bill has been enacted, it is cited as a statute.


4. Email Privacy Act, H. Res. 699, 114th Cong., 2d sess., Congressional Record 162, no. 65, daily ed. (April 27, 2016): H2022.

Bibliography: US Congress, House. Email Privacy Act. H. Res. 699. 114th Cong., 2d sess. Congressional Record 162, no. 65, daily ed. (April 27, 2016): H2022-28.



Records of testimony before congressional committees are given formal titles, which should be included in citations.  The relevant committee is normally listed as part of the title.


5. Hearing before the Select Committee on Homeland Security, HR 5005, Homeland Security Act of 2002, day 3, 107th Cong., 2d sess., July 17, 2002, 119-20.

Bibliography: US Congress, Senate. Famine in Africa: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations. 99th Cong., 1st sess., January 17, 1985.



Statutes, which are bills or resolutions that have been passed, are first published separately and then collected in annual bound volumes of the United States Statutes at Large.  Then, they are incorporated into the United States Code.  Cite US Statutes, US Code, or both.  Section numbers are preceded by the section symbol §. Cite statutes in the notes only.


6. Atomic Energy Act of 1946, Public Law 2585, 79th Cong., 2d sess. (August 1, 1946), 12, 19.

7. Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970, US Code 15 (2000), §§ 1681 et seq.


Presidential Publications

Presidential proclamations, executive orders, vetoes, addresses, and the like are published in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents and in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States.  Proclamations and executive orders are also carried in the daily Federal Register and then in title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations.  Once published in the Code, use that as your source.  Put individual titles in quotation marks.


1. William J. Clinton, Executive Order 13067, "Blocking Sudanese Government Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Sudan," Code of Federal Regulations, title 3 (1997 comp.): 230.

Bibliography: US President. Proclamation 9465. "Establishment of the Stonewall National Monument." Federal Register 81, no. 125 (June 29, 2016): 42215-20.

Publications of Government Departments and Agencies

Executive departments, bureaus, and agencies issue reports, bulletins, circulars, and other materials.  Italicize the title, and include any identified authors after the title.


1. US Department of the Treasury, Report of the Secretary of the Treasury Transmitting a Report from the Register of the Treasury of the Commerce and Navigation of the United States for the Year Ending the 30th of June, 1850, 31st Cong., 2d sess., House Executive Document 8 (Washington, DC, 1850-1851).

Bibliography: US Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Environmental Division. Oil-Spill Risk Analysis: Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lease Sales, Central Planning Area and Western Planning Area, 2007-2012, and Gulfwide OCS Program, 2007-2046, by Zhen-Gang Ji, Walter R. Johnson, and Charles F. Marshall. Edited by Eileen M. Lear. MMS 2007-040, June 2007.

U.S. Constitution

The U.S. Constitution should only be cited in notes.  Include the article or amendment, section, and if relevant, clause.  


1. US Constitution, art. 2, sec. 1, cl. 3.

2. US Constitution, amend. 14, sec. 2.


The texts of treaties signed before 1950 are published in United States Statutes at Large. The unofficial citation is to the Treaty Series (TS) or the Executive Agreement Series (EAS).  After 1950, they appear in United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (UST, 1950-) or Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS, 1945-).  Treaties involving more than two nations may be found in the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS, 1946-) or the League of Nations Treaty Series (LNTS).  

Italicize the titles of the publications above and their abbreviated forms.  List the parties subject to the agreement unless they appear in the title of the document; separate them by hyphens.  An exact date indicates the date of signing, which may differ from the year the treaty was published.


1. Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water, US-UK-USSR, August 5, 1963, UST 14, pt. 2, 1313.

2. Convention concerning Military Service. Denmark-Italy, July 15, 1954, TIAS 250, no. 3516, 45.

Bibliography: United States. Naval Armament Limitation Treaty with the British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan. February 6, 1922. US Statutes at Large 43, pt. 2.

Legal Cases

Citations of legal cases generally take the same form for all levels of courts.  In notes, give the full case name in italics.  Include the volume number, name of reporter, ordinal series number, opening page number of the decision, abbreviated name of the court and date, and other relevant information.  Actual pages cited follow the opening page number, separated by a comma.

Cite cases in notes only.


1. United States v. Christmas, 222 F.3d 141, 145 (4th Cir. 2000).

2. Profit Sharing Plan v. MBank Dallas, N.A., 683 F. Supp. 592 (ND Tex. 1988).

For U.S. Supreme Court decisions, cite United States Supreme Court Reports (US), or Supreme Court Reporter (S. Ct.) if not yet published in the reports.

For lower level Federal Courts, cite Federal Reporter (F.) or Federal Supplement (F. Supp.).

Cite state reporters for state and local level courts when possible.

Cases consulted online should include a URL.  Include a database name when case is found in an academic database, such as Lexis Nexis or Westlaw.

State and Local Government Documents

Cite state and local government documents similarly to federal documents.


1. Illinois Institute for Environmental Quality (IIEQ), Review and Synopsis of Public Participation regarding Sulfur Dioxide and Particulate Emissions, by Sidney M. Marder, IIEQ Document 77/21 (Chicago, 1977), 44-45.

2. Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, Illinois Compiled Statutes, chap. 720, no. 646, sec. 10 (2005). 

Bibliography: Illinois Institute for Environmental Quality (IIEQ). Review and Synopsis of Public Participation regarding Sulfur Dioxide and Particulate Emissions, by Sidney M. Marder, IIEQ Document 77/21. Chicago, 1977.

Canadian Government Documents

Cite Canadian documents similarly to U.S. documents.  End citations with the word "Canada" in parentheses, unless it is obvious from the context.  

Canadian statutes appeared through 1985 in the Revised Statutes of Canada, which was published every 15 to 30 years.  Statutes since then are cited as session laws in the annual Statutes of Canada.  Identify statutes by title, reporter, year of compilation, chapter, and section.  


1. Canada Wildlife Act, Revised Statutes of Canada 1985, chap. W-9, sec. 1.

2. Assisted Human Reproduction Act, Statutes of Canada 2004, chap. 2, sec. 2.

Canadian Supreme Court cases since 1878 are published in Supreme Court Reports. Federal Court cases are published in Federal Courts Reports (FC, 1971-2003; FCR, 2004-) or Exchequer Court Reports (Ex. CR, 1875-1971). Cases not found in either of these can be found in Dominion Law Reports (DLR).  Include the name of the case (in italics), followed by the date (in parentheses), the volume number (if any), the abbreviated name of the reporter, and the opening page of the decision.


3. Robertson v. Thompson Corp., (2006) 2 SCR 363 (Canada).

4. Canada v. CBC/Radio-Canada, (2014) 1 FCR 142.

British Government Documents

Cite British documents similarly to U.S. documents.  End citations with the phrase "United Kingdom" in parenthesis, unless it is obvious from the context.  Acts of Parliament should usually only be cited in notes, unless it is critical to your argument or frequently cited.  Acts from before 1963 are cited by regnal year and monarch's name (abbreviated) and ordinal (arabic numeral).


1. Act of Settlement, 1701, 12 & 13 Will 3, chap. 2.

2. Consolidated Fund Act, 1963, chap. 1 (United Kingdom).

3. Manchester Corporation Act, 1967, chap. xl.

For British legal cases, find the applicable report in the Law Reports.  These are Appeal Cases (AC), Queen's/King's Bench (QB/KB), Chancery (Ch.), Family (Fam.), and Probate Reports (PR).  Courts of Appeal are the House of Lords (HL), the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (PC), and the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UKSC).  Include the name of the case, in italics; the date, in parentheses; the volume number, if applicable; and the opening page of the decision.  


4. Regina v. Dudley and Stephens, (1884) 14 QBD 273 (DC).

5. Regal (Hastings) Ltd. v. Gulliver, (1967) 2 AC 134 (HL)(appeal taken from Eng.)

6. NML Capital Limited (Appellant) v. Republic of Argentina (Respondent), (2011) UKSC 31.

Publications of International Bodies

Documents of international bodies such as the United Nations can be cited like books. Identify the author/authorizing body/editor, the title or topic of the publication, and the date, followed by a page reference in the notes.  Include any series or identifying publication information.  For online documents, include the URL.


1. League of Arab States and United Nations, The Third Arab Report on the Millennium Development Goals 2010 and the Impact of the Global Economic Crises (Beirut: Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, 2010), 82.

BibliographyUnited Nations Security Council. Resolution 2222, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. S/RES/2222. New York: UN, May 27, 2015.

Unpublished Government Documents

For unpublished government documents, follow the patterns for unpublished manuscripts.

Most unpublished documents in the U.S. are stored in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C., or one of its branches, and cataloged online.  Cite them all by record group (RG) number.

Canadian documents are stored by the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in Ottawa.  For British documents, it is the National Archives (NA) or British Library (BL), both in London.  All are cataloged online.