APA style

How to quote laws following the APA style?

I have been slow to respond to the large number of inquiries I have received on how to quote laws since I felt the need to contact one of the editors of the work team of the American Psychological Association (through the email StyleExpert @ apa.org) since the citation of laws is a complex issue.

The difficulty arises because in the United States -where the APA standards come from- the laws are not like in Argentina, where they are characterized by having a number and a name.

In the manual of the APA (2009, pp.216-224), it is indicated that citations of legal material have different formats to the rest of what the manual indicates. The main difference is that the legal material is quoted at the bottom of the page, while the rest of the citations are made mentioning the author’s last name and year in the text, without using the footnotes. If possible, the APA suggests that the author and year style be maintained and the use of footnotes avoided.

The citations of legal material follow the style of The Bluebook, which is the standard legal dating manual in much of the United States. The editor of the APA, in response to my query, looked in that manual and found a section for citations from Argentina.

His response was the following:

Law No. <number>, <province abbreviation, if relevant>, <promulgation date>, [<volume number>] <reporter abbreviation> <first page> (<country abbreviation if not evident from context>).


Law No. <number>, <province abbreviation, if relevant>, <enactment date>, [<volume number>] <reporter’s abbreviation> <first page> (<country abbreviation if evident by context> ).

As with any reference you make, the goal is that the reader has the necessary information to access the material cited. I understand that for appointments in publications in English and international circulation the recommendation of the publisher of the APA is the most convenient. However, within the framework of the social sciences – which is the area in which I work – and with the experience of inquiries from those who perform documentary or field research, I suggest that it be cited as follows:

Name of the law, No. and year.

For example: National Education Law, No. 26.206, 2006.

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