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Neutral Citation System

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    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.

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