What’s a Citator?

A Citator can be used by the legal researcher for several things:

  1. To validate a case – validating a case means verifying that the case is still good law.  A researcher can check a citator to see if a case has been overturned or received negative comment or criticism by a later court.  If a later court in the same jurisdiction overturned the case, the case is no longer good law, and a legal arguments can not be based on that case.  It is not precedent.
  2. To locate relevant primary authority – when you look up a case in a citator, it will cite other cases which have discussed the same issue as the case you already have located.  This is a good way to find cases on point.
  3. To locate secondary authority – often when researching in an area with which the researcher is unfamiliar, the research may want to consult secondary sources to become more familiar with the area of law.  The citator can help the researcher locate such secondary sources.

The citator will provide parallel citations, case history, cases that mention or cite the case and references to West’s headnote system.

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