Primary tabs

Citation has two common definitions in a legal context:

  • A citation is a reference to a source that supports a statement or is otherwise related to it. 
    • In legal documents, the source may be a primary legal authority (such as a case or a statute) or a secondary legal authority (such as a treatise or dictionary).
  • A citation is also an order from a court or the police commanding one's appearance at a certain time and place. 
    • To avoid having to make the appearance, one may attempt to show cause for lack of compliance with the order, or sometimes enter a plea and accept judgment by mail (as with a minor traffic violation).

[Last updated in July of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]