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Citator Basics: Westlaw



KeyCite is Westlaw’s citator. It will help you determine if a source is still good law.

A red flag tells you a case has been overturned on at least one point of law. (e.g., overruled or reversed)

yellow flag tells you that your case has negative history but has not been overturned. (e.g., another court has distinguished a holding in the case).

A blue-striped flag tells you the case has been appealed either to the U.S. Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court

Overruling Risk is an additional feature which will tell you if a case you are citing relies on overturned authority. This is helpful if your case was not directly overturned but an earlier case was, making yours no longer good law. You can learn more here.

 Clicking on the flags or selecting the "negative treatment" tab above the case will take you to a page which explains why the case has been flagged and other related cases.

KeyCite tabs are automatically listed at the top of each case.  The tabs include: filings, negative treatment, history; citing references (with depth of treatment bars) and table of authorities.



Just because a case has a  red or yellow flag or                              overruling risk, the case may still work for you. Sometimes a case has only been overruled on one point of law when their are several. It's important to look at the reasons why a case has negative treatment before disregarding the case entirely. Additionally, even a case that has been overturned may have important citing references that you can use.

Other Resources

Additional Resources

Westlaw has many different resources to help you use KeyCite to the best of your abilities. These training videos and hand outs will help you learn about the different features offered by Westlaw.