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OSCOLA invites you to follow two “golden rules” when citing legal authorities. The first is consistency and the second is a consideration for the reader. Legal writing is considered more persuasive when you refer to legal matters in a clear, consistent and familiar way. An integral part of this is having an easy way of identifying your sources. OSCOLA does not use endnotes or in-text citations, instead, all citations appear as footnotes. Lengthy works such as already published books and theses also include citations in tables of cases and legislation, as well as bibliographies.
There are two types to do the same, read further and know more:
-These are used to indicate the authority for the preceding text or idea. Also, there will be a superscript number in-text which corresponds to the relevant authority at the bottom of the page.
-These are located at the end of the work and are categorized properly depicting all sources used in work.
Under the OSCOLA guidelines, each authority should be cited in a consistent, uniform manner. The different categories of sources are cited in different formats. Before examples are given, some general rules should be mentioned:
The bibliography should be split into three main sections:
Let’s discuss about them in detail!
This table must include all treaties, conventions, legislation and statutory instruments cited. Moreover, these entries should be ordered in alphabetical order by the first significant word of the title. You may choose to separate the legislation by jurisdiction.
The table of cases should include any cases cited in work. These should be sequenced in alphabetical order of the first significant word. You may choose to separate the cases by jurisdiction if needed.
The bibliography section should include all secondary sources cited in alphabetical order.
The referencing in the bibliography for all sources should be identical to the referencing in the footnotes, the only difference lies is in the formatting of the author's name.
The following guidelines give examples of the citation required in the footnote, so remember to make the necessary amendments to the author's name in the bibliography.
When referencing a case as authority, you must give the full name of the case along with its neutral citation. Case name should always be in italics both in-text and the footnotes, but not in the bibliography.
If you have said the full name of the case in the text, then only the subsequent information is required in the footnote. For the above examples, the footnote would only read as follows:
 2 QB 691
 1 WLR 1204
If you are including an exact paragraph/passage of the judgment, then a pinpoint reference to the relevant part of the judgment should follow the citation.
Legislation should be cited using its short title and the year. The format to be followed is discussed below, and the example follows the same:
Format: Short title | Year
To reference a particular section of the legislation, insert a comma with the section following. For instance, consider the example given below:
Sale of Goods Act 1979, s 3
Environmental Protection Act 1990, schedule 2
The Statutory instruments require the name, year and the SI number. To cite the same, use the format given below:
Format: Name | year | SI number
To cite the treaties and protocols in the document are cited as:
Format: | [year] |
When these things are to be cited in your legal document, do not follow any haphazard structure, go with the predefined one that is:
You may cite the authoritative reports or the reports of judgments and decisions. Just ensure to be harmonious with your approach.
Ireland v UK App No 5310/71 (ECtHR, 25 January 1976)
The cases and other jurisdictions may also have some relevant data that might come handy to you. These should be cited as follows:
Most of the time, students rely on the books they find, but the books undergo constant revisions. To make sure you do not get accused of including faulty data in your document, make sure you include the publisher and year as well. Use the format given below:
Format: Author, | title | (edition, | publisher, | year)
When a book has more than one author, but you need to include their work in your scholarly document, you are required to use the following format:
Format: Author 1 and Author 2, | title | (edition, | publisher, | year)
If a book has three authors, then the format given below is advised to use:
Format: Author 1, Author 2 and Author 3 | title | (edition, | publisher, | year)
In the rarest of rare cases, if a book has too many authors, then you should use the format given below:
Format: Author 1 and others, | title | (edition, | publisher, | year)
Many a time, the articles too deliver an important message, verdict or information. To cite them use the format given below:
Format: Author, | 'title' | [year] | volume | journal name or abbreviation | first page of article
If there is no author, then begin the citation with the title. If there is no date of publication, provide the date you accessed it. The format to be followed is given below:
Format: Author | 'title' | (Website, date) |
Newspapers are flooded with instances which can be used directly to conclude or provide any relevant argument in your academic document. To cite the same, use the following:
Format: Author, | 'title' | newspaper | (City of publication, date of publication) | page number
The online newspaper portals are also a sea of information from which the required ones can be fished out easily. To cite the following, use the format that follows:
Format: Author, | 'title' | newspaper | (City of publication, date of publication) |
Hope you were accurately guided by this write-up and will prefer taking help from the same while completing your next academic paper.
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