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OSCOLA Referencing Guide

Our team brings an OSCOLA referencing style guide regarding all the different types of sources, take a look:

Cases in England & Wales

Required fields for citing cases in England and Wales court are case name, court (abbreviated), law report name, year, volume number, starting page, and the judge. Syntax for citation:

case name | [year] | court | number, | [year] OR (year) | volume | report abbreviation | first page


R (Roberts) v Parole Board [2004] EWCA Civ 1031, [2005] QB 410

Corr v IBC Vehicles Ltd [2008] UKHL 13, [2008] 1 AC 884

Cases in Scotland

Citation of Scottish law cases do not have any punctuation, the rest is similar to England and Wales. Syntax for citation:

case name | [year] | court | number | [year] OR (year) | volume | report abbreviation | first page


Smart v HM Advocate [2006] HCJAC 12, 2006 JC 119 [23]–[24]

Adams v Advocate General 2003 SC 171 (OH)

Primary Legislation in the UK

Statues: Citation of act begins by its title and year in roman numbers, capital for the major words, and mention year without a comma. For example, Shipping and Trading Interests (Protection) Act 1995

Different parts of statues: Principally, statues are divided into sections, subsections, paras and sub paras. However, it can be supplemented by schedules which are further divided. The abbreviations include:







Bills: Citation of a Bill is done by mentioning the title, House of origin, the Parliamentary session with brackets, and assigned number. Numbers for House of Commons Bills are kept inside the square brackets; those with House of Lords Bills aren’t.

title | HC Bill | (session) | [number] OR title | HL Bill | (session) | number


Consolidated Fund HC Bill (2008–09) [5]

Secondary Legislation in the UK

Statutory statements: Statutory statements such as orders, regulations or rules are numbered one after the other throughout the year. It is clubbed with the serial number to provide an SI number, followed by the abbreviation ‘SI’ which is used to refer the legislation. While citing a statutory statement, mention the name, year, the SI number.


Penalties for Disorderly Behaviour (Amendment of Minimum Age) Order 2004, SI 2004/3166

Court Rulings: Civil Procedural Rules (CPR) and concerning predecessors, Rules of the Supreme Court (RSC) and the County Court Rules (CCR), may be cited without referring to the SI number or year.

European Union Legal Sources

While citing EU treaties and protocols, mention the title of this legislation, including amendments if required, the year of publication, the issued OJ series and the page numbers. Old treaties were published in the C series. With significant exceptions, such as the Lisbon Treaty, legislation is now published in the L series. Syntax:

legislation title | [year] | OJ series | issue/first page


Consolidated Version of the Treaty on European Union [2008] OJ C115/13

Citation of Regulations, Directives, Decisions, Recommendations and Opinions are made by mentioning the legislation type, number and title, publication details in the OJ. Note that the year precedes the running number in citations to Directives, but follows it in citations to Regulations. Syntax:

legislation type | number | title | [year] | OJ L issue/first page


Council Regulation (EC) 1984/2003 of 8 April 2003 introducing a system for the statistical monitoring of trade in bluefin tuna, swordfish and big eye tuna within the Community [2003] OJ L295/1

Secondary Sources


Authors’ names : Mention the author’s name as it appears in the publication, but leave postnominals such as QC. When judges write outside the curriculum, they must be mentioned in the publication. If there are more than three authors, then mention the name of first author and by ‘and others,’ next. If no author is recognized, and certain organization claims the editorial custodianship of the work, then cite its name in place of author’s. If no individual, organization claims responsibility, start the citation with the title name. Treat editors’ names the same way as authors’ names.

Titles : Italicise names of books and same goes with publication, include all publications with ISBNs. All other titles should be within quotation marks and in roman numerals. Title case the entire heading by capitalizing the first letter of each word. Words such as ‘for’, ‘and’, ‘or’ and ‘the’, are written the same way.

Parts, paragraphs, chapters, and pages : Pinpoints to parts, chapters, pages and paragraphs are mentioned at the very end of the citation. Use ‘pt’ for part, ‘ch’ for chapter, and ‘para’ for paragraph. Page numbers go solo. While citing a chapter or part and page number, put a comma right before the page number. Wherever possible, mention specific range of pages. However, you must refer to an initial page and several unspecified following pages.

Electronic sources : If you mention a publication online which is available in hard copy as well, cite that particular version. Citation of an electronic source for such a publication is not required. Citations of publications that are available only electronically should end with the specific web address in angled brackets (< >), next the date of most recent access, expressed in form of ‘accessed 16 October 2007’. Include ‘http://’ only if the web address does not begin with ‘www’.

Subsequent citations and abbreviations : In the succeeding citation of books and articles, mention only the author’s second name and provide a cross-citation like ‘((n n))’ to the end note with the complete citation. The pinpoints follow the cross-citation. If you are citing multiple works by single author, then it may be useful to provide the title as well, or an abbreviated thereof, and only title alone should be used for later citations of unquoted works and some other secondary sources, like reports and policy documents.


Citing publications with an ISBN like books, whether read online or hard copy. Older books do not have ISBNs, but should be cited accordingly.

Authored books: Cite author’s name in the very beginning, then a comma, followed by the title of the book in italics case. Where a book has a merged title and subtitle, put a colon. Publication details follow title within brackets. Publication’s elements must always be included with publisher and the year of publication, with a space but without any punctuation between them. Do not mention the place of publication. If you are citing some edition other than the first one, then mention it using the form ‘5th edn’ or ‘rev edn’ for revised editions. Syntax:

author, | title | (additional information, | edition, | publisher | year)


K Zweigert and H Kötz, An Introduction to Comparative Law (Tony Weir tr, 3rd edn, OUP 1998)

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (first published 1651, Penguin 1985) 268

Gareth Jones, Goff and Jones: The Law of Restitution (1st supp, 7th edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2009)

Contributions to edited books: While citing a chapter or an essay in an edited book, always mention the name of the author and the title of the work, in exact same format to the one used during citation of an article, followed by the editor’s name, title of the book in italics font, and details of concerned publication. It’s not a compulsion to mention the pages. Syntax:

author, | ‘title’ | in editor (ed), | book title | (additional information, | publisher | year)


Francis Rose, ‘The Evolution of the Species’ in Andrew Burrows and Alan Rodger (eds), Mapping the Law: Essays in Memory of Peter Birks (OUP 2006)

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (first published 1651, Penguin 1985) 268

Justine Pila, ‘The Value of Authorship in the Digital Environment’ in William H Dutton and Paul W Jeffreys (eds), World Wide Research: Reshaping the Sciences and Humanities in the Century of Information (MIT Press 2010)

Encyclopedias: Citing an encyclopedia is similar to a book, but without accounting the author’s name, the editor’s name, publisher, and including the edition and year. Pinpoints to volume number and the paragraphs follow the publication details. When an encyclopedia credits an author for a particular segment, it gives both at the beginning of the citation. While citing an online encyclopedia, always mention the web address.

  • Year of publication
  • The volume number
  • Name of the journal  
  • First page of the article


- author, | ‘title’ | [year] | journal name or abbreviation | first page of article


-JAG Griffith, ‘The Common Law and the Political Constitution’(2001) 117 LQR 42, 64

Jeremy Waldron, ‘The Core of the Case against Judicial Review’ (2006) 115 Yale LJ 1346, 1372

Paul Craig, ‘Theory, “Pure Theory” and Values in Public Law’ [2005] PL 440

Online Journals: While citing journal articles that are published only electronically, mention the publication details as for articles in hard copy of journals, but online journals may lack some publication elements. If citation is provided by the online journal, then follow it, remove periods as necessary to comply with OSCOLA. Follow the citing with web address in angled brackets and mention the date you recently accessed the article. Syntax:

author, | ‘title’ | [year] OR (year) | volume/issue | journal name or abbreviation | | date accessed


-Graham Greenleaf, ‘The Global Development of Free Access to Legal Information’ (2010) 1(1) EJLT < > accessed 27 July 2010

James Boyle, ‘A Manifesto on WIPO and the Future of Intellectual Property’ 2004 Duke L & Tech Rev 0009 accessed 18 November 2009

Paul Craig, ‘Theory, “Pure Theory” and Values in Public Law’ [2005] PL 440

Websites and blogs: When there is no significant advice elsewhere, just follow the general principles for citing websites and blogs. If there is no identified author, and it is quite appropriate to cite an anonymous source, then start the citation with the heading in the regular way. If there is no date of publication, then mention the date of access.


Sarah Cole, ‘Virtual Friend Fires Employee’ (Naked Law, 1 May 2009) accessed 19 November 2009

Newspaper articles: While citing newspaper articles, give the author, the title, the name of the newspaper in italics font and then the city of publication and date. Some newspapers have ‘The’ in the title and some do not. If known, mention the page number of the article, after the brackets. If the reference is to an editorial article, then cite the author with ‘Editorial’. If the article is sourced from the web, then mention the web address access date.


Ian Loader, ‘The Great Victim of this Get Tough Hyperactivity is Labour’ The Guardian (London, 19 June 2008) accessed 19 November 2009

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