Supreme Court of North Carolina Withdraws Order Implementing Universal Citation System

 In an order issued by the Supreme Court of North Carolina, the Court announced that it is withdrawing its previous order implementing the universal citation system for judicial opinions and publications.

Although the Court initially believed that the inclusion of paragraph numbers in court opinions—a key feature of universal citations—largely could be automated, that has not been the case in practice. The paragraph numbering has imposed significant administrative burdens on court staff responsible for preparing opinions for filing and physical publication.

At the same time, the Office of the North Carolina Appellate Reporter has made improvements to the speed at which official reporter citations are available electronically to lawyers and the public. This has alleviated a core problem addressed by universal citations, which is availability of a legal citation shortly after an opinion is released.

The Court is therefore withdrawing the order implementing universal citations. The Court will continue to evaluate the universal citation concept with the expectation that the system could be relaunched in the future.