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SED 502 - Legal & Policy Issues Affecting Special Ed Program Administrators

Designed to assist students in SED 502 with legal research

Writing Styles

This course will use APA Style. For general guidance, check out our APA Style guide. Note that in APA Style, most legal materials are cited in the standard legal citation style. For detailed information about preparing legal citations, please refer to the Legal Studies guide.

Looking for a physical copy of the APA manual? Our catalog record is linked below.

Legal References in APA Style

Legal references are covered in chapter 11 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition (pages 355 - 368).

Legal references often contain a great deal of information, and abbreviations are used to make references shorter. See the table below for common abbreviations (sourced from the APA Manual, p. 357):

Word or phrase Abbreviation

Part of government

House of Representatives



Type of legal material




Section of legal material

And following



§ (Alt + 0167)
§ §
et. seq

Reporter (source) of federal legal material

United States Reporter
Federal Reporter
Federal Reporter, Second Series
Federal Reporter, Third Series
Federal Supplement
Federal Supplement, Second Series
Federal Supplement, Third Series
United States Code
Congressional Record
Federal Register
Code of Federal Regulations


F. Supp.
F. Supp. 2d
F. Supp. 3d
Cong. Rec.

Additional abbreviations may be found here.

Cases or Court Decisions

To cite a case or court decision, include the following elements:

  • Title or name of the case (usually one party against another)
  • Citation (in legal sources "citation" has a slightly different meaning-- this is typically where you'll find the published case in a reporter, and will be listed as the citation in a legal database)
  • Jurisdiction of the court
  • Date
  • URL (optional)

In your reference list, this should be formatted as: Name v. Name, Citation (Jurisdiction Year). URL

The in-text citation will include the name of the case in italics and year; for example, (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954).

Note that US Supreme Court cases are only published in the United States Reporter, so the jurisdiction doesn't need to be added (Supreme Court is assumed).


Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954). 

H.P. v. Board of Education of City of Chicago. 385 F.Suppl.3d 623 (N.D. Ill. 2019).

Candi M. v. Riesel Independent School District. 379 F.Supp.3d 570 (W.D. Tex. 2019).


Statutes are laws and acts passed by legislative bodies. To cite them, include:

  • Name of the act
  • Title, source, and section number of the statute
  • Publication date of the compilation where you found the statute
  • URL (optional)

In your reference list, this should be formatted as: Name of Act, Title # Source § Section # (Year). URL. In-text citations should list the name of the act in parentheses (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act); those without names can be referenced by legal citation (for example, 20 U.S.C. § 1400).


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. (2010).

Note: Et seq is a Latin abbreviation indicating that the section number is the first in a series of a few sections that codify this act.


If you're citing a federal regulation that has been codified, use the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) citation:

Title or number, Volume C.F.R. § xxx (Year). URL

The in-text citation should use the title and year.

For Illinois Administrative Code, use Ill. Admin Code tit. XX § XXX (Year).


Assistive technology, 34 C.F.R. § 300.105 (2020).

In-text: (Assistive technology, 2020)

Ill. Admin Code tit. 23 § 226 (2016).

Law Librarian

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Chad Kahl
he / him / his
Office: Milner 419
(309) 438-3454
Subjects: Law, Legal Studies

Special Education Librarian

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Tom Hardy
Office: 617A