Neutral Citation System
Polity & Governance
4th Mar, 2023
The Chief Justice of India (CJI) has announced that the Supreme Court will adopt a “neutral citation system” for its judgments.
What is a “citation”?
- A case citation is essentially an identification tag for a judgment. Typically, it would contain a reference number, the year of the decision, the name of the courtthat delivered that judgment, and shorthand for the journal publishing the judgment.
What is a neutral citation?
- A neutral citation is a form of citation where courts assign a unique sequential number to each decision.
- This would assign its own citation— distinct from those given by traditional Law Reporters.
- Law Reporters are periodicals or annual digeststhat publish judgments, often with an editorial note to make it accessible for lawyers to refer to precedents.
Why is a neutral system excellent or necessary?
- Judgments mention citations while referring to precedents and often use citations from different Law Reporters.
- With artificial intelligence (AI) enabling the translation of judgments and transcribing of court proceedings, a uniform citation is necessary.
- Several High Courtsincluding Delhi High Court have started a neutral citation format.