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The Greenbook: Texas Rules of Form, 13th Edition

The thirteenth edition of The Greenbook was published this fall and it has a few changes of note that Texas lawyers and law students may find useful. The Greenbook’s editors remind us in the introduction to the new edition that it is neither a complete citation guide nor style guide, but rather a “lens through which Texas legal materials may be cited and understood.”  Or, perhaps, a Texas-sized supplement to the Bluebook , tailored to the Texas practitioner. Some of the more notable changes and additions include:

Citation to Opinions on Court Websites:  Rules 2-4 have been supplemented to provide more guidance for citing Texas court opinions appearing on court websites. Acknowledging that recent cases are most reliably accessed through court websites, the rules provide suggestion for pin cites to unpaginated versions of opinions available online.

Pet. Pending: You may be surprised to learn that a fourteenth citation form has been added for describing the status of a petition for review: pet. pending.  Rule 55.1 of the Texas Rules of Appellate procedure notes that “[w]ith or without the granting of a petition for review, the Court may request the parties to file briefs on the merits.” This designation addresses those situations where the Texas Supreme Court has ordered briefing, but has not granted or denied the petition.

Locating Petition & Writ History: Unfortunately, the 13th edition of the Greenbook suggests West’s Texas Subsequent History Table as the best resource for finding petition and writ history. As Nota Bene reported last October, the Texas Subsequent History Table will no longer be published. Searching by case number on the Texas Courts Online website to find petition notions is suggested as well. This method is reliable and does not require having advance sheets to the Southwester Reporter (Texas Cases) handy.

Enhanced Historical Information: Greenbook users will enjoy the 13th edition’s use of citation to Texas Supreme Court cases discussing the reasoning and use behind citation practices. In previous editions of the Greenbook these matters were announced without any direction for the reader interested in knowing the statements by the court about these issues. This is particularly the case in Chapter 5, regarding the Commission of Appeals, and Appendices A and E.  


The Constitution of the State of Coahuila and Texas: Appendix G, relating to the citation of prior constitutions, now includes guidance for citation to the Constitution of the State of Coahuila and Texas. Texas was part of this Mexican state, prior to the existence of the Republic of Texas, and its 1827 constitution is properly cited to Gammel’s The Laws of Texas. Greenbook editors also make mention of Gammel’s The Laws of Texas’ availability online through the University of North Texas, a helpful tip for practitioners. 

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