Wilkes University

Vancouver Referencing Guide: Federal Laws (Statutes)

A guide to the Vancouver referencing style commonly used in the biomedical sciences

United States Statutes Published as Slip Laws

Once a piece of legislation has been enacted by the Congress and signed into law, it is assigned a Public Law number and printed as an individual document called a slip law.  At the end of a legislative session, the slip laws are combined into bound volumes called session laws. These will be included in the next edition of the United States Statutes at Large.

Standard Format for Citation:

Official or popular name of the statute, if the law has one (if not named, “Act of [full date]), P.L. No.XXX-YYY [Xs represent the Congress in which the law was enacted and the Ys represent the number of the statute], volume symbol, volume number, abbreviated name of the session laws title [i.e., “Stat.”], page number, (year of statute, if not in its name)

Examples:
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, P.L. No.101-336, §104 Stat. 328 [statute on the Internet]. [cited 2013 Aug 22]. Available from: http://finduslaw.com/americans-disabilities-act-1990-ada-42-us-code-chapter-126

Preventive Health Amendments of 1993, P.L. No. 103-183, §107 Stat. 2226.

Employee Retirement Income Act, P.L. No.93-406, §99 Stat. 829 (1974).

United States Statutes at Large

United States Statues st Large are the official federal session laws passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law during an annual legislative session. They are bound chronologically, in the order enacted.

Standard Format for Citation:

Title of the Law, Act, or Statute.  Abbreviated name for United States Statues at Large, (Year): page numbers.

Example:
Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.  U.S. Statutes at Large 102 (1989): 4181-545.

United States Code

The United States Code is a compilation and codification of all general and permanent federal laws organized by subjects. The Code collates the original law with subsequent amendments and deletes language that has been repealed or superseded, so they present the laws as they are currently in force.   They are organized under 50 subject titles which are divided into chapters and sections.  The code is revised about every six years, with supplements between updates.)


Standard Format for Citation:

Title, Title number, abbreviation for U.S. Code, section symbol, section number (year).

Example:
State Plans for Medical Assistance 42 U.S.C. § 41936a (2004)