Referencing Styles: OSCOLA

OSCOLA stands for the Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities. It is the Law referencing system created by Oxford University. If you are a post-graduate law student, you are required to use this referencing system. In this system, citations are put in footnotes at the bottom of the page.

To create a footnote in Microsoft Word, click your mouse on the place you want it to refer to. Click on ‘References’ at the top and then on ‘Insert Footnote’. A number will appear in the text, and also at the bottom of the page, where you write your citation. This means that your readers can easily look down at the footnote to see the details of the source you are referring to.

In this guide, each type of source has an outline of the elements of the citation. Each of the elements is separated by a vertical line ‘|’. Pay attention to

  • whether words are in italics (like this)
  • whether brackets are round like this ( ), square like this [ ] or angled like this < >
  • where there is punctuation, such as commas (,)

You can generate OSCOLA citations using RefWorks. To do this, log into RefWorks, then find the item(s) in Summon and click the 'Save this item' icon next to the search result. This will save the item(s) in your RefWorks folder. In RefWorks, select the item(s) and click 'Create Bibliography'. You can then select 'OSCOLA 4th edition' as the reference style and it will generate the citation.

In HeinOnline, there is a Cite button to the left of an article's text which gives you the OSCOLA citation. You can find OSCOLA reference generators online, but none of them are perfect, so please check what they give you.

If you cannot find what you need, read the latest edition of OSCOLA or email the Online Library at

For International Law, see the OSCOLA guide to citing international law



General principles


UK primary legislation (Acts and Bills)

UK secondary legislation (statutory instruments)

EU legal sources

                Judgments of the ECJ and GC

                Decisions of the European Commission

                Judgments of the ECHR

International Law

Cases from other jurisdictions

Legislation from other jurisdictions




Online articles

Case notes


Websites and blogs

Newspaper articles


Personal communications (letters and emails)


General Principles


  • Quotations that are three lines or shorter should be incorporated in the text. Use 'single quotation marks', but if you need to sumbit your work to Turnitin, use "double quotation marks".
  • Quotations longer than three lines should be an indented paragraph. Do not include quotation marks.



  • Put the footnote marker at the end of a sentence, unless for the sake of clarity it is necessary to put it directly after the word or phrase to which it relates
  • The superscript number should be after the full stop or comma, if relevant
  • Where more than one citation is given in a single footnote reference, separate them with semi-colons


Authors' names

  • Give the author’s name exactly as it appears in the publication, but omit postnominals such as QC
  • If there are more than three authors, give the name of the first author followed by ‘and others’
  • If no individual author is identified, but an organisation or institution claims editorial responsibility for the work, then cite it as the author
  • If no person, organisation or institution claims responsibility for the work, begin the citation with the title
  • In footnotes, the author’s first name or initial(s) precede their surname
  • In bibliographies, the surname comes first, then the initial(s), followed by a comma



  • Italicise titles of books and similar publications, including all publications with ISBNs
  • All other titles should be within single quotation marks and not in italics
  • Capitalize the first letter in all major words in a title
  • Minor words, such as ‘for’, ‘and’, ‘or’ and ‘the’, do not take a capital unless they begin the title or subtitle



  • Pinpoints to parts, chapters, pages and paragraphs come at the end of the citation
  • For cases, pinpoint paragraphs using square brackets, e.g. [23]. If pinpointing to more than one paragraph, separate the paragraph numbers in square brackets with a comma, e.g. [42], [45]. If citing spans of paragraphs, insert a dash between the first and last paragraph being cited, e.g. [1]-[37].
  • For everything other than cases, use ‘pt’ for part, ‘ch’ for chapter, and ‘para’ for paragraph
  • Page numbers stand alone, without ‘p’ or ‘pp’
  • If citing a chapter or part and page number, insert a comma before the page number
  • Where possible, give a specific range of pages but if you must refer to an initial page and several unspecified following pages, give the initial page number followed immediately by ‘ff ’ (eg ‘167ff ’)


Electronic sources (this does not apply to cases and legislation)

  • If you source a publication online which is also available in hard copy, cite the hard copy version. There is no need to cite an electronic source for such a publication
  • Citations of publications that are available only electronically should end with the web address (or ‘url’) in angled brackets (< >), followed by the date of most recent access, expressed in the form ‘accessed 1 January 2010’
  • Include ‘http://’ only if the web address does not begin with ‘www’



  • When a full date is required, the format should be ‘1 January 2016’
  • There is no need for ‘st’ or ‘th’ after the day
  • If something spans more than one year in the same century, the format is ‘1972-84’


Subsequent citations

  • If a citation is the same as the one immediately before it, you can put 'ibid' (followed by any differing pinpoints) in the footnote
  • If the citation is the same as another, you can use a shortened form, followed by a reference to the footnote and any differing pinpoints, e.g. Stevens (n 1) 110.



Case citations including neutral citations

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




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


Case citations without neutral citations

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




Barrett v Enfield LBC [2001] 2 AC 550 (HL)



  • If only one volume was issued during that particular year, do not give a number
  • Use square brackets for the year a volume was issued
  • Use round brackets for the year a judgment was issued
  • If you included the case name in the text, you do not need to include the case name in the footnote
  • Where there are multiple parties, name only the first claimant and first defendant. Where the parties are individuals, omit forenames and initials.


What are neutral citations?

Many courts now issue judgments with a neutral citation which identify the judgment independently of any law report. Neutral citations give the year of judgment, the court and the judgment number. The court is not included in brackets at the end of a neutral citation because the neutral citation itself identifies the court.

Where a judgment with a neutral citation has not been reported, give only the neutral citation.


Re Guardian News and Media Ltd [2010] UKSC 1


Where such a judgment has been reported, give the neutral citation followed by a citation of the most authoritative report, separated by a comma.



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


UK primary legislation (Acts and Bills)

Cite an Act by its short title and year, using capitals at the beginning of major words, and without a comma before the year. Do not use popular titles of Acts, such as ‘Lord Campbell’s Act’


Shipping and Trading Interests (Protection) Act 1995


If several jurisdictions are discussed in a work, it may be necessary to add the

jurisdiction of the legislation in brackets at the end of the citation




Water Resources Act 1991 (UK)


Statutes are divided into parts, sections, subsections, paragraphs and subparagraphs. The relevant abbreviations are:


















Consumer Protection Act 1987, s 2


If specifying a paragraph or subsection as part of a section, use only the abbreviation

for the section. For example, paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section 15 of the

Human Rights Act 1998 is expressed as follows:


Human Rights Act 1998, s 15(1)(b)



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


title | HL Bill | (session) | number




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

Academies HL Bill (2010-11) 1, cl 8(2)


UK secondary legislation (statutory instruments)

Statutory instruments (orders, regulations or rules) are numbered consecutively throughout the year. The year combines with the serial number to provide an SI number that follows the abbreviation ‘SI’ and which is used to identify the legislation. When citing a statutory instrument, give the name, year and (after a comma) the SI number:


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


Statutory instruments used to be called statutory rules and orders, and these are cited by their title and SR & O number.


The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) and their predecessors, the Rules of the Supreme Court (RSC) and the County Court Rules (CCR), may be cited without reference to their SI number or year. Cite all other court rules in full as statutory instruments.





RSC Ord 24, r 14A


CPR Practice Directions (PD) are referred to simply by number, according to the part or rule they supplement.




6A PD 4.1


Parts of statutory instruments




r/rr (not necessary for CPR)




European Union legal sources

Official notices of the EU are carried in the Official Journal of the European

Communities (abbreviated to OJ). The letter ‘L’ denotes the legislation series, the ‘C’ series contains EU information and notices, and the ‘S’ series invitations to tender.



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




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


Regulations and Directives

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


Council Directive 2002/60/EC of 27 June 2002 laying down specific

provisions for the control of African swine fever and amending Directive

92/119/EEC as regards Teschen disease and African swine fever [2002]

OJ L192/27


Note that the year precedes the running number in citations to Directives, but follows it in citations to Regulations.


Judgments of the European Court of Justice and General Court

  • EU cases registered at the European Court of Justice are given the prefix ‘C-‘
  • EU cases registered at the General Court (known as the Court of First Instance until 2009) are given the prefix ‘T-‘
  • Judgments from the Civil Service Tribunal (established in 2005) are given the prefix ‘F-‘
  • For an unreported case, cite the relevant notice in the OJ. If the case is not yet reported in the OJ, then cite the case number and case name, followed by the court and date of judgment in brackets.
  • When citing an opinion of an Advocate General, add the words ‘Opinion of AG [name]’


case number | case name | [year] | report abbreviation | first page




Case 240/83 Procureur de la République v ADBHU [1985] ECR 531

Case T–277/08 Bayer Healthcare v OHMI—Uriach Aquilea OTC (CFI, 11 November 2009)

Case C–176/03 Commission v Council [2005] ECR I–7879, paras 47–48

Case C–411/05 Palacios de la Villa v Cortefiel Servicios SA [2007] ECR I–8531, Opinion of AG Mazák, paras 79–100


Decisions of the European Commission

case name | (case number) | Commission Decision number | [year] | OJ L issue/first page




Alcatel/Telettra (Case IV/M.042) Commission Decision 91/251/EEC [1991] OJ L122/48


Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

Cite either the official reports, the Reports of Judgments and Decisions (cited as ECHR) or the European Human Rights Reports (EHRR), but be consistent in your practice. Before 1996, the official reports were known as Series A. References to unreported judgments should give the application number, and then the court and the date of the judgment in brackets.




Johnston v Ireland (1986) Series A no 122

Osman v UK ECHR 1998–VIII 3124

Balogh v Hungary App no 47940/99 (ECtHR, 20 July 2004)

Omojudi v UK (2009) 51 EHRR 10


International Law

For International Law, see the OSCOLA guide to citing international law.


Cases from other jurisdictions

Cite cases from other jurisdictions as they are cited in their own jurisdiction, but with minimal punctuation. If the name of the law report series cited does not itself indicate the court, and the identity of the court is not obvious from the context, you should also give this in either full or short form in brackets at the end of the citation.




Henningsen v Bloomfield Motors Inc 161 A 2d 69 (NJ 1960)

Roe v Wade 410 US 113, 163–64 (1973)

Waltons Stores (Interstate) Ltd v Maher(1988) 164 CLR 387

BGH NJW 1992, 1659

Cass civ (1) 21 January 2003, D 2003, 693

CA Colmar 25 January 1963, Gaz Pal 1963.I.277


Legislation from other jurisdictions

Cite legislation from other jurisdictions as it is cited in its own jurisdiction, but without any full stops in abbreviations. Give the jurisdiction if necessary.




Accident Compensation Act 1972 (NZ)

1976 Standard Terms Act (Gesetz über Allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen) (FRG)

loi n° 75-1349 du 31 décembre 1975 relative à l’emploi de la langue française



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




Timothy Endicott, Administrative Law (OUP 2009)

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


If there is more than one author insert an 'and' before the last author's name. The edition should be included where the book is in its second edition or beyond. If citing information from a specific page, add the page number directly after the reference. Example:


Gary Slapper and David Kelly, The English Legal System (Routledge 2016) 17


If a book consists of more than one volume, the volume number follows the publication details:


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


If the publication details of the volumes vary, the volume number precedes them, and is separated from the title by a comma:


Christian von Bar, The Common European Law of Torts, vol 2 (CH Beck 2000) para 76


Editors and translators

If there is no author, cite the editor or translator as you would an author, adding in brackets after their name ‘(ed)’ or ‘(tr)’, or ‘(eds)’ or ‘(trs)’ if there is more than one.


If the work has an author, but an editor or translator is also acknowledged on the front cover, cite the author in the usual way and attribute the editor or translator at the beginning of the publication information, within the brackets:


HLA Hart, Punishment and Responsibility: Essays in the Philosophy of Law (John Gardner ed, 2nd edn, OUP 2008)


Contributions to edited books

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




John Cartwright, ‘The Fiction of the “Reasonable Man”’ in AG Castermans and others (eds), Ex Libris Hans Nieuwenhuis (Kluwer 2009)



Cite an encyclopedia much as you would a book, but excluding the author or editor

and publisher and including the edition and year of issue or reissue. If citing an online encyclopedia, give the web address and date of access.



Halsbury’s Laws (5th edn, 2010) vol 57, para 53

Leslie Green, ‘Legal Positivism’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall edn, 2009) <> accessed 20 November 2009



author, | ‘title’ | (year) | volume | journal name or abbreviation | first page of article


If only one volume was published that year, use square brackets:

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


Put a comma after the first page of the article if there is a pinpoint (the specific page you are referencing).




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


Online articles

When citing journal articles which have been published only electronically, give publication details as for articles in hard copy journals.

  • Note that online journals may lack some of the publication elements (for example, many do not include page numbers).
  • If citation advice is provided by the online journal, follow it, removing full stops as necessary to comply with OSCOLA.
  • Follow the citation with the web address (in angled brackets) and the date you most recently accessed the article.
  • Use square brackets for the year a volume was issued
  • Use round brackets for the year a judgment was issued


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




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


Case notes

Treat case notes with titles as if they were journal articles. Where there is no title, use the name of the case in italics instead, and add (note) at the end of the citation.


Andrew Ashworth, ‘R (Singh) v Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police’ [2006] Crim LR 441 (note)



HL Deb OR HC Deb | date, | volume, | column


In the House of Commons, written answers are indicated by the suffix ‘W’ after the column number; in the House of Lords, they are indicated by the prefix ‘WA’ before the column number.




HC Deb 3 February 1977, vol 389, cols 973–76

HL Deb 21 July 2005, vol 673, col WA261


Command papers

Command papers include White and Green Papers, relevant treaties, government responses to select committee reports, and reports of committees of inquiry. When citing a command paper, begin the citation with the name of the department or other body that produced the paper, and then give the title of the paper in italics, followed by the command paper number and the year in brackets.




Home Office, Report of the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment (Cmd 8932, 1953) para 53


The abbreviation preceding a command paper number depends on the year of publication:

1833–69 (C (1st series))

1870–99 (C (2nd series))

1900–18 (Cd)

1919–56 (Cmd)

1957–86 (Cmnd)

1986– (Cm)


Websites and blogs

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


  • If there is no author identified, and it is appropriate to cite an anonymous source, begin the citation with the title in the usual way.
  • If there is no date of publication on the website, give only the date of access


Newspaper articles

author, | ‘title’ | name of the newspaper | (city of publication, | date) | page if known




Jane Croft, ‘Supreme Court Warns on Quality’ Financial Times (London, 1 July 2010) 3

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



interviewer(s) if not yourself, | Interview with name, position, institution of interviewee | (location, date of interview)




Interview with Irene Kull, Assistant Dean, Faculty of Law, Tartu University (Tartu, Estonia, 4 August 2003)

Timothy Endicott and John Gardner, Interview with Tony Honoré, Emeritus Regius Professor of Civil Law, University of Oxford (Oxford, 17 July 2007)


If the reference is to an editorial, cite the author as ‘Editorial’.

If you conducted an interview for the purposes of your dissertation, you do not need to cite it in your dissertation. If the transcripts of your interviews are in your appendix, you can refer to your appendix in brackets or a footnote, e.g.:


According to interviewee X (Appendix 1), the …


Or, you could cite it as a personal communication in a footnote.


Personal communications

When citing personal communications, such as emails and letters, give the author and recipient of the communication, and the date. If you are yourself the author or recipient of the communication, say ‘from author’ or ‘to author’ as appropriate.




Letter from Gordon Brown to Lady Ashton (20 November 2009)

Email from to author (16 December 2008)