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Law: Referencing for Law

How to find law reports, journal articles and other sources of legal information

The OSCOLA Standard for Legal Citation

The School of Law at Queen's has adopted the Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) for legal referencing. OSCOLA uses footnotes for references.

Referencing Case Law

The sections on UK, EU and European Court of Human Rights case law in these pages all provide examples  of case law citation using OSCOLA.

Citation style for international law sources is covered by:

If party names have been given in the main text, these do not need to be included in the footnote reference. Otherwise, include party names. 

Referencing Books and Articles

Books and articles should be referenced in footnotes as follows:

Books

Catherine Elliott and Frances Quinn, Contract Law (10th edn, Pearson 2015).

Articles

Paul S Davies, 'Remedies for Breach of Trust' (2015) 78 MLR 681.

(using an abbreviation for the name of the journal - see Finding Journal Articles)

Contributions to Edited Books

Dagmar Schiek, 'Article 23: Equality Between Women and Men' in Steven Peers and others (eds), The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Hart 2014).

 

Referencing Page Numbers and Judgment Paragraphs

Give 'pinpoint' page references when quoting directly or otherwise referring to particular pages or judgment paragraphs. 

Cases - Law Reports and Judgments

Add the page number(s) or paragraph number(s) to the footnote citation, e.g.

R v Leeds County Court, ex p Morris [1990] QB 523 (QB) 530–31.

Use square brackets for paragraph numbers, e.g. 

Callery v Gray [2001] EWCA Civ 1117, [2001] 1 WLR 2112 [42], [45].

Only use commas in the pinpoint reference when giving references to separate pages or paragraphs as above. Otherwise give page or square bracket paragraph numbers and ranges without additional punctuation.

Journal Articles

Add the page number (or numbers) to the footnote citation using a comma, e.g.

Paul S Davies, 'Remedies for Breach of Trust' (2015) 78 MLR 681, 687-88.

Books

Add the page number to the book reference (no comma), e.g.

Andrew Burrows, Remedies for Torts and Breach of Contract (3rd edn, OUP 2004) 317.

Incorporate quotations of up to three lines into the text, within single quotation marks. Quotations longer than three lines should be set out in an indented paragraph, with no further indentation of the first line.

The OSCOLA Guides to Citation

Current versions of the OSCOLA guides are as follows:

All available from the OSCOLA home page.

Website Guides to OSCOLA

Subsequent Citation

Previous citations can be indicated when repeating citations for the same work within an assignment, article or chapter, e.g.

1 Edwin Peel and James Goudkamp, Winfield and Jolowicz on Tort (19th edn Sweet & Maxwell 2014).

2 Jack Anderson, The Legality of Boxing: a Punch Drunk Love? (Birbeck Law) 2007.

3 Peel and Gouldkamp (n 1) 52.

When referring back to a previous note, add a short form of the case name, or author surname(s) for book and journal references.

Use 'ibid' to refer to the immediately preceding citation, e.g. 

1  [2009] UKHL 5, [2009] AC 564.

2 ibid [34].