Oscola Bibliography Reference Works

Reference Systems: OSCOLA

The standard of referencing used for Law academic work is OSCOLA (Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities). OSCOLA is a system of legal citation used by most Law Schools and publishers in the United Kingdom, and has been developed by the University of Oxford Faculty of Law.

The aim of this part of PLATO is to provide you with a brief introduction to the use of OSCOLA. The study of law focuses less on traditional material such as textbooks and journals, and more on legislation, case reports, law reports or Hansard; hence a different system, more specifically geared towards the study of law, is required for accurate citation and referencing.

1. How to format a reference to a Legal Case

Please remember to use the following:

Use an italic font for case name, e.g.

Chamberlain v Lindon

Use square brackets [   ] if the year is relevant to finding the Case, e.g.

Chamberlain v Lindon [1998] 2 All ER 538

Use round brackets (   ) if the year is relevant to finding the Case, e.g.

Agassiz v London Tramway Co. Ltd. (1873) 21 WR 199

Unpublished cases in printed form – sometimes these are referred to as Neutral citations, e.g.

Smith v. Buckland [2007] EWCA Civ 1318

2. How to format a reference to an Unreported case

Use the neutral citation if the case has one, or if not use the court and the judgement date in brackets after the case name, e.g.

Scott v Process Mechanical Ltd (Bradford County Court, 20 July 1990)

3. How to reference a Case with a popular name reported by the media

Cases that become well known through media coverage, can be searched by subject or by the names of one or both parties involved. In these circumstances put the popular name in the brackets and place the full title at the front of the line, the first time you include it and thereafter refer to the popular name, e.g.

Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd v Apple Inc [2012] EWHC 1882 (Pat) (Samsung v. Apple case)

For details about how to cite a Parliamentary Bill, Statutory Instrument or European Legislation please see the Advanced Referencing Section.

4. How to reference a book

Format to be followed:

Author, Title of book (edition number publisher, Year) page numbers

The first edition of a Book, e.g.

R Lyster and A Bradbrook, Energy Law and the Environment (CUP, Cambridge 2006)

Subsequent editions including a reference to page numbers:

M Sornarahaj, The International Law on Foreign Investment (3rd edn CUP, Cambridge 2010)

5. How to reference a book in a series

Format to be followed:

Author, Title of Book (series title, edition number publisher, Year, page number(s))

For example:

G Watt, Equity and Trusts Law (Directions, 3rd edn, OUP, Oxford 2012)

6. How to reference a Chapter from a Book

Format to be followed:

Author, Title in Author or editor, Title (Publisher, place of publication and year).

For example:

B Veneziani, ‘The Role of the Social Partners in the Lisbon Treaty’ in N Bruun et al (eds), The Lisbon Treaty and Social Europe (Hart Publishing, Oxford 2012)

7. How to reference a journal article

Format:

Author, article title, (year) volume number, Journal title page number

Citation format:

Author, Title of article [Year] Journal title, page number

For example:

J Rowbottom, ‘Media Freedom and Political Debate in the Digital Era’ ( 2006 ) 69 MLR 489

8. How to reference Law Commission Reports

Format to be followed:

Law Commission, Title of Report (Law Com No XXX Cm XXXX, Year)

For example:

Law Commission, ‘Consumer Redress for Misleading and Aggressive Practices’ (Law Com No 332, 2012)

9. How to reference a specific paragraph in a Report

Format to be followed:

Law Commission, Title of Report (LawCom No XXX, Year) para x.xx

For example:

Law Commission, ‘Consumer Redress for Misleading and Aggressive Practices’ (Law Com No 332, 2012) para 3.21

10. The content of Bibliographies

A bibliography should include all of both the primary and secondary sources of information in alphabetic order of:

  1. Legislation
  2. Cases (these should not be in italic format in the bibliography)
  3. Secondary sources e.g. books and journals etc.

11. How to format secondary sources in a bibliography

Format:

Author, Title, Series, Edition, Publisher, Year.

For example:

Twinning W, Rethinking Eviodence: Exploratory Essays Law in Context, 2nd edn, CUP, 2005

12. How to use footnotes for Cross-referencing

In the first footnote write the case name, article or book in full. Subsequently you can work as follows:

1st reference to case in immediately preceding footnote.
1 Agassiz v London Tramway Co. Ltd (1973) 21 WR 199

2 ibid.

13. How to format web sites in footnotes

Format:

Title of Document, Month, Year, <Web address> accessed date

Where the next footnote refers to the same case as the preceding one.
2ibid.

Where the next footnote refers to a case cited in an earlier footnote
10. Chamberlain v Lindon (n1)

14. Where to find further information

OSCOLA is currently into its 4th edition (2010), and a PDF version of the official OSCOLA guide is available to download from the following URL:
https://ilrb.cf.ac.uk/citingreferences/oscola/tutorial/index.html.

The Oxford University Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) is the referencing style used by the Leicester Law School, and by many law schools and legal publishers in the UK.

OSCOLA is published and maintained by the University of Oxford, and is available to download for free from https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/publications/oscola.

OSCOLA includes rules and examples for referencing all types of primary and secondary legal resources in the UK, Europe and Internationally.

This webpage summarises the OSCOLA referencing style. It is not a substitute for the official OSCOLA referencing guides (above).

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Help and training

If you have any questions about OSCOLA referencing, please read this guide first, and watch the online lectures below. If your question is not answered, please contact the law librarian via librarians@le.ac.uk or 0116 252 2055. You can also make an individual or group appointment with the law librarian using Book a Librarian.

Workshops

The library runs an Introduction to OSCOLA workshop several times a year. The workshop is aimed at undergraduate law students, but all are welcome. Please see the workshop timetable for forthcoming dates. A copy of the workshop slides is available to download.

Online lectures

If you are unable to attend the OSCOLA workshops, the content is available in a series of online lectures:-

Online tutorials

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) has created an suite of online training resources via Law PORT. An Introduction to Citing References Using OSCOLA is an online tutorial introducing the general principles of OSCOLA, and how to cite the main primary and secondary sources of UK and EU law, and many other sources not covered in OSCOLA.

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Footnotes

OSCOLA is a numbered footnote referencing style. Footnote markers (superscript numbers) are inserted in the main body of your essay - normally at the end of the sentence, after the punctuation.1 The full reference is written in the corresponding numbered footnote at the bottom of the page, and the footnote is closed with a full-stop. Microsoft Word includes footnoting tools, and further guidance is available online.

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Bibliography

The bibliography is a complete list of all sources cited in your essay, normally presented at the end of your work. It is divided into two sections: 1) table of authorities (primary sources) and 2) bibliography (secondary sources). Generally, references are copied and pasted from the footnotes to the bibliography. For secondary sources, the format of the author's name is also changed to surname/initial to better enable alphabetical sorting.

The Table of Authorities is divided into subsections for a) cases, b) statutes and c) statutory instruments. If foreign or international materials are used, the primary sources may also be subdivided by jurisdiction. All references should be arranged alphabetically by title within each section.

The Bibliography is divided into subsections for a) books, b) official publications, c) book chapters, d) journal articles, e) other print sources, and f) internet sources. All references should be arranged alphabetically by author's surname within each section. Where the author is not known, references should be listed at the beginning, in alphabetical order by title.

Example

Table of Authorities

Cases
Statutes
Statutory Instruments

Bibliography
Books
Official publications
Book chapters
Journal articles
Other print sources
Internet sources

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Short forms and ibids

The first time you reference a source, full details should be given in the footnote. For subsequent citations, a short form of the reference can be given, followed by a cross reference (in brackets) to the fully referenced footnote. For cases the short form is normally the first party name, and for books and articles the author's surname. If you refer to the same work in the immediately following footnote, you can use ibid (an abbreviation of the Latin ibidem, meaning 'in the same place'), instead of the short form. Page numbers can also be used at the end of short forms and ibids.

Example
(Where footnote 3 refers to footnote 2; and footnote 4 refers to footnote 1)

1 Richard Pears and Graham Shields, Cite them right: the essential referencing guide (9th edn, Palgrave Macmillan 2013).

2 Lisa Webley, Legal Writing (3rd edn, Routledge 2013).

3 ibid.

4 Pears and Shields (n 1).

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Quotations

Short quotations (up to three lines of text), should be incorporated into the text, within 'single quotation marks'; longer quotations (over three lines of text), should be presented in an indented paragraph, without quotation marks. All quotations should be referenced by a footnote, and the page number of the quotation should be indicated at the end of the footnote.

Quotations from other works must be faithful to the original, except where it is necessary to change quotation marks from single to double, or vice versa. If some words are missing from the quotation, or if it ends mid sentence in the original text, use an ellipsis (...) to indicate that some of the quotation is missing.

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Page numbers

If you directly quote or paraphrase a source, you should include the page or paragraph number at the the end the footnote (although not in the bibliography). OSCOLA uses minimal punctuation, and page numbers are given simply as a number e.g. 5 or range of numbers e.g. 5-6 at the end of the footnote, without any 'p' or 'pp' or 'page' prefix; paragraph numbers are normally given in square brackets e.g. [5] or [5-7] at the end of the footnote, without any 'para' prefix.

Example

Book:- Lisa Webley, Legal Writing (3rd edn, Routledge 2013) 5

Journal:- Graham Virgo, ‘Why Study Law: the Relevance of Legal Information’ (2011) 11 LIM 221, 223-224

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Authors

Give authors' names as they appear in the publication, but omit postnominals such as QC. In footnotes, give the author's first name or initial(s) followed by their surname; in the bibliography, give the author's surname first, followed by their initial(s).

Example

Footnote:- Lisa Webley, Legal Writing (3rd edn, Routledge 2013).

Bibliography:- Webley L, Legal Writing (3rd edn, Routledge 2013)

If there are between 1 and 3 authors, give all the authors' names in the reference; if there are 4 or more authors, give the first author's name, followed by the words 'and others'. If the author is not known, begin the citation with the title (do not use anon).

Example

Footnote:- Scott Slorach and others, Legal Systems and Skills (3rd edn, OUP 2017).

Bibliography:- Slorach S and others, Legal Systems and Skills (3rd edn, OUP 2017)

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Books

Author, | Title of the Book | (Edition, | Publisher | Year)

Example

Footnote:- Lisa Webley, Legal Writing (3rd edn, Routledge 2013).

If pinpointing:- Lisa Webley, Legal Writing (3rd edn, Routledge 2013) 5.

Short form:- Webley (n #).

Short form if pinpointing:- Webley (n #) 5.

Bibliography:- Webley L, Legal Writing (3rd edn, Routledge 2013)

Book chapters

Author, | 'Title of Chapter', | in | Editor (ed), | Title of the Book | (Edition, | Publisher | Year)

Example

Footnote:- Philip Handler, ‘Legal History’ in Dawn Watkins and Mandy Burton (eds), Research Methods in Law (Routledge 2013).

Short form:- Handler (n #).

Bibliography:- Handler P, ‘Legal History’ in Dawn Watkins and Mandy Burton (eds), Research Methods in Law (Routledge 2013)

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Journal articles

Author, | ‘Title of Article’ | [(Year)] | Volume | Abbreviation | First Page

Example

Footnote:- Graham Virgo, ‘Why Study Law: the Relevance of Legal Information’ (2011) 11 LIM 221.

If pinpointing:- Graham Virgo, ‘Why Study Law: the Relevance of Legal Information’ (2011) 11 LIM 221, 223.

Short form:- Virgo (n #).

Short form if pinpointing:- Virgo (n #) 223.

Bibliography:- Virgo G, ‘Why Study Law: the Relevance of Legal Information’ (2011) 11 LIM 221

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Websites

Author, | Title of Website | (Date) | < URL > | accessed Date

Example

Footnote:- Equality and Human Rights Commission, Being Disabled in Britain: A Journey Less Equal (3 April 2017) <www.equalityhumanrights.com> accessed 8 May 2017.

Short form:- Equality and Human Rights Commission (n #).

Bibliography:- Equality and Human Rights Commission, Being Disabled in Britain: A Journey Less Equal (3 April 2017) <www.equalityhumanrights.com> accessed 8 May 2017

Blogs

Author, | ‘Title of Post’ | (Title of Blog, | Date of Post) | < URL > | accessed | Date

Example

Footnote:- Brian Meli, ‘May the 4th Be With Your Brand: A Legal Guide to Making Star Wars Tributes’ (LegalMatter, 27 April 2015) < www.legalmatterblog.com > accessed 28 May 2017.

Short form:- Meli (n #).

Bibliography:- Meli B, ‘May the 4th Be With Your Brand: A Legal Guide to Making Star Wars Tributes’ (LegalMatter, 27 April 2015) < www.legalmatterblog.com > accessed 28 May 2017

eBooks and eJournals

If you read books and journals online, as eBook and eJournals, you should normally reference them as if you were reading the print resource. There is no need to acknowledge the electronic format, database supplier, or web address (URL) and digital object identifier (DOI). If resources are published online only, with no print equivalent, then you should follow guidance for referencing websites, as far as possible.

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UK legislation

If you give a full legislation reference (title, year and section) in the main text of your essay, then you do not need to repeat the information in the footnote. The reference can be omitted from the footnote, but it should be included in the bibliography.

Act / Statute

Short Title | Year

Example

Footnote:- Human Rights Act 1998.

If pinpointing:- Human Rights Act 1998, s 12.

If shortening:- Human Rights Act 1998, s 12 (HRA 1998).

Short form: HRA 1998, s 12.

Bibliography: Human Rights Act 1998

Statutory Instrument

Title | Year, | SI Year/Number

Example

Footnote:- Copyright (Industrial Designs) Rules 1949, SI 1949/2367.

If pinpointing:- Copyright (Industrial Designs) Rules 1949, SI 1949/2367, reg 4.

If shortening:- Copyright (Industrial Designs) Rules 1949, SI 1949/2367, reg 4 (CIDR 1949).

Short form:- CIDR 1949, reg 4

Bibliography:- Copyright (Industrial Designs) Rules 1949, SI 1949/2367

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EU legislation

Title | [Year] | OJ Citation

Example

Footnote:- Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time [2003] OJ L299/9.

If pinpointing:- Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time [2003] OJ L299/9, art 7.

If shortening:- Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time [2003] OJ L299/9 (Working Time Directive 2003).

Short form:- Working Time Directive 2003.

Bibliography:- Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time [2003] OJ L299/9

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Treaties

Title | (adopted Date, | entered into force Date) | Citation

Citation = Volume | Abbreviation for Series | Page number

Citations should be from the UNTS (United Nations Treaty Series), or another National Treaty series.

Example

Footnote:- WIPO Copyright Treaty (adopted 20 December 1996, entered into force 6 March 2002) 2186 UNTS 121.

If pinpointing:- WIPO Copyright Treaty (adopted 20 December 1996, entered into force 6 March 2002) 2186 UNTS 121 (WCT), art 10.

If shortening:- WIPO Copyright Treaty (adopted 20 December 1996, entered into force 6 March 2002) 2186 UNTS 121 (WCT).

Short form:- WCT.

Bibliography:- WIPO Copyright Treaty (adopted 20 December 1996, entered into force 6 March 2002) 2186 UNTS 121

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UK cases

If you give the full case name in the main text of your essay, then you only need to give the case citations in the footnote (the case name can be omitted from the footnote).

Cases with a neutral citation (published after 2001)

Case Name | Neutral Citation, | Report Citation

Neutral Citation = [Year] | Abbreviation for Court | Case number

Report Citation = [(Year)] | Volume | Abbreviation for Law Report | Page number

Where possible cite cases from The Law Reports first, then Weekly Law Reports and All England Law Reports.

Example

Footnote:- Lucasfilm Ltd v Ainsworth [2011] UKSC 39, [2012] 1 AC 208.

If pinpointing to page:- Lucasfilm Ltd v Ainsworth [2011] UKSC 39, [2012] 1 AC 208, 228

If pinpointing to a judge:- Lucasfilm Ltd v Ainsworth [2011] UKSC 39, [2012] 1 AC 208 [42]-[44] (Lord Walker SCJ).

If case name given in essay:- [2011] UKSC 39, [2012] 1 AC 208.

Short form:- Lucasfilm (n #).

Bibliography:- Lucasfilm Ltd v Ainsworth [2011] UKSC 39, [2012] 1 AC 208

Cases without a neutral citation (published before 2001)

Case Name | Report Citation | (Court)

Report Citation = [(Year)] | Volume | Abbreviation for Law Report | Page number

Where possible cite cases from The Law Reports first, then Weekly Law Reports and All England Law Reports.

Example

Footnote:- Tyburn Productions Ltd v Conan Doyle [1990] 3 WLR 167 (Ch).

If pinpointing to page:- Tyburn Productions Ltd v Conan Doyle [1990] 3 WLR 167 (Ch), 168.

If pinpointing to a judge:- Tyburn Productions Ltd v Conan Doyle [1990] 3 WLR 167 (Ch), 178-179 (Vinelott J).

If case name given in essay:- [1990] 3 WLR 167 (Ch).

Short form:-Tyburn (n #).

Bibliography:- Tyburn Productions Ltd v Conan Doyle [1990] 3 WLR 167 (Ch)

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ECJ cases

Case Number | Case Name | ECLI citation, | Report citation

ECLI citation = Region | Court | Year | Case number

ECLI (European Case Law Identifier) is a new case law metadata standard and is similar to a UK neutral citation. It is not well known, and not currently part of OSCOLA (so can be omitted), although is covered in OSCOLA's FAQs.

ECR citation = [Year] | ECR | Volume- | Page number

CMLR citation = [Year] | Volume | CMLR | Page number

Where possible cite cases from the European Court Reports first, then Common Market Law Reports, or other major series.

If pinpointing to a paragraph number, use the prefix para instead of [brackets].

In the bibliography, reorder the citation by case name first, then case number and citation.

Example

Footnote:- Case C-607/11 ITV Broadcasting Ltd v TV Catchup Ltd EU:C:2013:147, [2013] 3 CMLR 1.

If pinpointing:- Case C-607/11 ITV Broadcasting Ltd v TV Catchup Ltd EU:C:2013:147, [2013] 3 CMLR 1, paras 30-36.

Case name given in essay:- Case C-607/11, EU:C:2013:147, [2013] 3 CMLR 1

Short form:- ITV Broadcasting Ltd (n #).

Bibliography:- ITV Broadcasting Ltd v TV Catchup Ltd (Case C-607/11) EU:C:2013:147, [2013] 3 CMLR 1

Unreported ECJ cases

Case Number | Case Name | OJ Citation

Example

Footnote:- Case C-527/15 Stichting Brein v Jack Frederik Wullems [2017] OJ C195/02.

Case name given in essay:- Case C-527/15, [2017] OJ C195/02

Bibliography:-Stichting Brein v Jack Frederik Wullems (Case C-527/15) [2017] OJ C195/02

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ECtHR cases

Case Name | Report Citation

ECHR citation = ECHR | Year | Volume | Page number

EHRR citation - (Year) | Volume | EHRR | Case number

Cite either from the Reports of Judgments and Decisions (ECHR) or the European Human Rights Reports (EHRR).

If pinpointing to a paragraph number, use the prefix para instead of [brackets].

Example

Footnote:- Animal Defenders International v United Kingdom (2013) 57 EHRR 21.

If pinpointing:- Animal Defenders International v United Kingdom (2013) 57 EHRR 21, para 124.

Case name given in essay:- (2013) 57 EHRR 21.

Short form:- Animal Defenders International (n # ).

Bibliography:- Animal Defenders International v United Kingdom (2013) 57 EHRR 21

Unreported ECtHR cases

Case Name | Application number | (ECtHR, | Date of judgment)

Example

Footnote:- Animal Defenders International v United Kingdom App no 48876/08 (ECtHR, 22 April 2013).

Case name given in essay:- App no 48876/08 (ECtHR, 22 April 2013)

Bibliography:- Animal Defenders International v United KingdomApp no 48876/08 (ECtHR, 22 April 2013)

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International cases

Case Name | Citation

Where possible cite cases from the International Court of Justice Reports first, then the International Law Reports or other law report series.

Example

Footnote:- Case Concerning the Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v Uganda) [2005] ICJ Rep 168.

Case name given in essay:- [2005] ICJ Rep 168.

Short form:- Congo v Uganda (n #).

Bibliography:- Case Concerning the Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v Uganda) [2005] ICJ Rep 168

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Secondary referencing

Secondary referencing occurs when you want to cite a text that you have not read. It is best academic practice to obtain the original material and cite it directly; however, there are times when this may not be possible. OSCOLA does not include rules for secondary referencing, although there is some unofficial guidance on using (as cited in) on the OSCOLA website.

Secondary reference | (as cited in | primary reference).

Example

Footnote:- Bernard Hibbitts, ‘The Technology of Law’ (2010) 102 Law Libr J 101 (as cited in Graham Virgo, ‘Why Study Law: the Relevance of Legal Information’ (2011) 11 LIM 221, 225).

Bibliography:- Virgo G, ‘Why Study Law: the Relevance of Legal Information’ (2011) 11 LIM 221

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Bibliographic software

Bibliographic software or reference generator software enables you to manage references, and insert footnotes and create bibliographies in your preferred referencing style. Bibliographic software works well for many referencing styles; but not for OSCOLA, which still requires a lot of manual editing, and a working knowledge of OSCOLA.

Foressays up to 5000 words, bibliographic software is not recommended.

Fordissertations and theses, EndNote may be helpful, although is not essential, and it is the only bibliographic software we recommend for use with the OSCOLA referencing style. Further information is available on our EndNote webpage, including an EndNote and OSCOLA user guide.

Other bibliographic software is available: RefWorks is tested and not recommended; Mendeley and Zotero are not tested. As regards the free reference generators e.g Cite This For Me, Citation Machine and Law Teacher, none produce referencing that is of a high enough standard, and they are not recommended.

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