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OSCOLA referencing style

As used in: the York Law School

Examples for OSCOLA

Example citations and references for OSCOLA 

Click here for Commonly used sources 

Click here for Further examples 

Download - OSCOLA Style: Referencing with Confidence (printable booklet) (PDF , 638kb)

Oxford University have kindly made a number of resources available under the Creative Commons, please see the next Tab.

Oxford's official OSCOLA resources

Oxford University have kindly made a number of resources available under the Creative Commons.

Quick guide to OSCOLA

The Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities 4th Edition (Hart, 2012)

OSCOLA 2006: Citing International Law (OSCOLA 4th Ed. does not include International Law)

FAQs about OSCOLA (University of Oxford)

It is highly recommended that students of the York Law School familiarise themselves with the Oxford resources as they give a comprehensive guide to this referencing style.

Use the Cardiff Index to Abbreviations for tips on abbreviating journal titles 

Further examples

Further examples

Primary sources

Case law

Neutral citations (referring to a judgment independently of the report)


neutral citations

Notes: Case names should be in italics.

The date should be in round brackets when the date is not crucial because the reports have an ongoing number sequence. The date should be in square brackets when the report has several volumes in one year, as the year differentiates between volumes.

For further information see the bailii website ( Within OSCOLA, see 2.1.1

Without a neutral citation (law report) 

without neutral

Notes: For abbreviations of all law reports, see Cardiff’s Index to Legal Abbreviation:

When making detailed reference to a judgment and/or page, put this at the end of the citation. So, if you want to include pinpointing about what a judge said and where this is in the law report: add the page number first then the judge’s correct abbreviation in brackets: eg 273 (Smith LJ).

When deciding which law report to cite, the Law Reports is the most authoritative. If the case is not included, use the Weekly Law Report or All England Law Reports. The specialist law reports can be cited if the case is not included in the preceding reports.

European Court of Justice

european court of justice

Notes: These can be found at

For further information see OSCOLA 2.6.2.

European Court of Human Rights


Shalk v Austria App no 30141/04 (ECtHR, 24 June 2010)

Notes: Reports can be found at

Before 1996, the reports were known as Series A and have a number. Simply include this in the citation after the case name and date.

For further information see OSCOLA 2.7.1


Primary legislation



Notes: Bribery Act 2010 would be the way you would refer to the statute in general, if you did not need to include pinpointing to any specific part of the act.

The citation can be abbreviated if you are referring to the same act multiple times, as long as this is flagged up to the reader, for example: Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE 1984).

For further information see OSCOLA 2.4.1



Notes: House of Commons bills have their running numbers put in square brackets. For House of Lords bill running numbers have no brackets.

For further information see OSCOLA 2.4.5

Subordinate legislation

Statutory instruments (the detail within a statute)


Taxation (International and Other Provisions) Act 2010, SI 2010/2901

Notes: These can be orders, regulations or rules, so you need to pinpoint the detail in question by adding the appropriate abbreviation and number.

For further information see OSCOLA 2.5.1

EU legislation

Treaties and protocols

 EU Treatise

Notes: Older treaties are known as the C series. The exception to the above rule includes the Lisbon Treaty, published in the L Series.


Regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations and opinions

Regulations & directives 

Notes: The date follows the running number in regulations but precedes it in directives.

For further information see OSCOLA 2.6.1


Secondary sources



Notes: The title should be in italics.

For a large reference book, such as Halsbury’s Laws of England, volume numbers need to be included.

When pinpointing a page number (if paraphrasing or quoting), add this to the end of your citation in the footnotes. For example 1Michael Jefferson, Criminal Law (Longman 2009) 42.


Books with multiple authors

Books with up to three authors

If the book has up to three authors, include ‘and’ in between each author.

CMV Clarkson and HM Keating and SR Cunningham, Criminal Law: Text and Materials (7th edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2010)


Books with more than three authors

If a book has more than three authors, include ‘and others’ after the name of the first author. 
Dick Hobbs and others, Bouncers: Violence and Governance in the Night-time Economy (OUP 2005)

Chapters in books

Philip Allott, ‘The Concept of International Law’ in Michael Byers (ed), The Role of Law in International Politics (OUP 2001)

Journal article

When citing a journal article, the format for year of publication varies slightly. If the year of publication indicates the volume number, place this within [ ], for example:
Adrian Keane, ‘Towards a Principled Approach to the Cross-examination of Vulnerable Witnesses’ [2012] Crim LR 407

If there is a separate volume number for the publication use ( ), for example:
Adrian Burrows, ‘The Relationship Between Common Law and Statute in the Law of Obligations’ (2012) 128 LQR 232

NB: In this second example, ‘128’ denotes the volume of LQR (Law Quarterly Review).

For further information see OSCOLA 3.3.1

Official publications

 If the reference is for a select committee from either house of parliament, give the name of the committee as the author.

Children, Schools and Families Committee, Sure Start Children’s Centre (HC 2009-10, 130)

For command papers, start the reference with the name of the committee or other body that produced the report.

Ministry of Defence, The Defence Strategy for Acquisition Reform (Cm 7796, 2010) para 1.3

Case notes

David Thomas, ‘Sentencing: confiscation orders – Proceeds of Crime Act 2002’ [2011] Crim LR 164 (note)

If you refer to the case discussed in the text and then add a reference in the footnote, simply omit the case name.

Online sources

Online Journals

Diane Fahey, ‘Can Tax Policy Stop Human Trafficking?’ (2008-2009) 40 Geo J Int’l L accessed 26 April 2011

This is for referencing journals that are only published electronically. Many will not have page numbers, but you can pinpoint with details before the URL and access information.

Websites with an author

Neil Addison ‘Malicious Communications’ (Harassment Law) accessed 26 April 2011

Websites without a names author

‘Children Law’ (The Law Society) accessed 26 April 2011 < areasoflaw/view=areasoflawdetails. law?AREAOFLAW=Children law&AREAOFLAWID=9> accessed 26 April 2011

Newspaper articles 

Hard copy

Neil Addison, ‘Privacy Law should be made by MPs, not Judges, says David Cameron’ The Guardian (London, 21 April 2011) 6


John Plunkett, ‘Andrew Marr Reveals he took out Superinjunction’ The Guardian (London, 26 April 2011) <­superinjunction> accessed 26 April 2011

Most Common Abbreviations





Law Reports (Appeal Cases)

Law reports


American Journal of International Law


All ER

All England Law Reports

Law reports


British Company Law Cases

Law reports


British Tax Review



Law Reports (Chancery)

Law reports


Cambridge Law Review



Current Legal Problems



Current Law Yearbook

Law reports


Common Market Law Review



Common Market Law Reports

Law reports




Cr App R

Criminal Appeal Reports

Law reports

Cr App R (S)

Criminal Appeal Reports (Sentencing)

Law reports

Crim LR

Criminal Law Review


EC Bull

EC Bulletin



European Competition Law Review



European Court Reports

Law reports


Estates Gazette

Law reports


Estates Gazette



European Human Rights Reports

Law reports


European Intellectual Property Review



European Industrial Relations Review


EL Rev

European Law Review



English Reports

Law reports


Court of Appeal (Civil Division)

Neutral citation England and Wales


Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)

Neutral citation England and Wales

EWHC (Admin)

High Court, Administrative Court

Neutral citation England and Wales

EWHC (Admlty)

High Court, Admiralty Court

Neutral citation England and Wales


High Court, Chancery Division

Neutral citation England and Wales

EWHC (Comm)

High Court, Commercial Court

Neutral citation England and Wales

EWHC (Fam)

High Court, Family Division

Neutral citation England and Wales

EWHC (Pat)

High Court, Patents Court

Neutral citation England and Wales


High Court, Queen’s Bench Division

Neutral citation England and Wales


High Court, Technology and Construction Court

Neutral citation England and Wales


Law Reports (Family)

Law reports


Family Law Reports

Law reports


Fleet Street Reports

Law reports








Financial Times Law Reports

Law reports


International & Comparative Law Quarterly



Industrial Cases Reports

Law reports


Industrial Law Journal



Industrial Relations Law Reports

Law reports


Journal of Business Law



Justice of the Peace Reports

Law reports


Journal of Planning and Environmental Law



Journal of Planning Law

Law reports


Local Government Reports

Law reports

Lloyd’s Rep

Lloyd’s Law Reports

Law reports


Lloyd’s Maritime & Commercial Law Quarterly



Law Quarterly Review


LS Gaz

Law Society Gazette

Law reports

LS Gaz

Legal Studies


LS Gaz

Law Society Gazette



Modern Law Review



New Law Journal



Official Journal of the European Communities



Oxford Journal of Legal Studies



Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal



Law Reports (Probate)

Law reports

P & CR

Property and Compensation Reports

Law reports


Public Law



Public & Third Sector Law Reports

Law reports


Law Reports (Queen’s Bench)

Law reports


Reports of Patent Cases

Law reports


Road Traffic Reports

Law reports


Session Cases

Law reports


Scottish Criminal Case Reports

Law reports


Scottish Civil Law Reports

Law reports


Solicitors’ Journal



Scots Law Reports

Law reports


Simon’s Tax Cases

Law reports


Tax Cases

Law reports


House of Lords

Neutral citation UK


Privy Council

Neutral citation UK


Supreme Court

Neutral citation UK


Weekly Law Reports

Law reports



Additional resources

Additional resources

University of York referencing guides and A to Z of examples

 ‘Referencing the Discussion’ tutorial available in the Academic Skills Tutorials module on Yorkshare

The Fourth Edition of the Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA):

The OSCOLA quick reference guide: Reference_Guide_001.pdf

OSCOLA 2006 Citing International Law Sources Section: OSCOLA_2006_citing_international_law.pdf

The Cardiff Index of Legal Abbreviations:

Useful OSCOLA tutorials:


What is OSCOLA?

The Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) (currently in its fourth edition) is the main source of authority you need to follow. It is a standard for use in law developed at Oxford University and adopted widely by law schools and publishers. OSCOLA uses footnotes at the bottom of each page for in-text citation, with full references organised in a bibliography at the end of the document and grouped according to different types of source.

The full guidance is available in the OSCOLA 4th edition available at  

If you are citing international law, you should see:

Parts of this guide direct you to the OSCOLA guide where you see, for example, “see OSCOLA 1.5”.

How do I cite sources using footnotes?

To insert a citation into your writing, whether you are directly quoting or indirectly referring to a source (paraphrasing or mentioning an idea), you will need to add a footnote. The superscript footnote within the text should appear at the end of a sentence and after the punctuation. For example:

Neville states that The Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal was involved in developing the OSCOLA referencing system.1


1 Colin Neville, The Complete Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism  (2nd edn, OU Press 2010).

(Where you cite an author of a secondary source their name should appear as it does on the publication with first name/ initials before surname).

For multiple references within one footnote use semi-colons to distinguish between them and put them in chronological order with the oldest first. For example, this footnote refers to two cases:


1 R v White [2010] EWCA Crim 978 (CA (Crim Div)); R V Adam [2011] EWCA Crim 865 (CA (Crim Div))).

If one or more references are more relevant than the others put these first and then ‘see also’. For example:


2 Rudi Fortson, Misuse of Drugs: Offences, Confiscation and Money Laundering (5th edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2005); Barbara Vettori, Tough on Criminal Wealth (Springer 2006). See also Peter Alldridge, Money Laundering Law (Hart Publishing 2003).

Also, order the sources with legislation before cases, and primary sources before secondary.

For more detailed information, see OSCOLA 1.1 and 1.2

How do I Effectively Cite Quotations?

You need to be very precise when using quotations. If the quotations are less than three lines use single quotation marks and include within the text. For example:


Narcotics contribute greatly to the black economy, for example ‘the value of illegal drugs transactions has been estimated at up to £1.5 billion annually’.24


24 Peter Alldridge, Money Laundering Law (Hart Publishing 2003) citing HC Deb 30 October 2001, vol 373, col 757.

If longer than three lines, use an indented paragraph, no quotation marks and a line space above and below. For example:

In-text When asked about the role of a newspaper’s proprietor Rupert Murdoch said:

Yes, I think sometimes it’s overestimated, but certainly they have power. Let’s face it, if an editor is sending a newspaper broke, it is the responsibility of the proprietor to step in for the sake of the journalists, for the sake of everybody.25 


25 Leveson Inquiry: Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press, Transcript of Morning Hearing 25 April 2012 page 17, 6-11 accessed 21 May 2012.

For more detailed information, see OSCOLA 1.5

How do I use abbreviations?

OSCOLA abbreviates a wide range of legal sources and institutions. Do not use punctuation when using an abbreviation. For example, the Director of Public Prosecutions should appear as DPP not D.P.P. There is also a small guide on the back page of this guide. For a comprehensive list of legal abbreviations, use the Cardiff index: can search by abbreviation to find the title, or by title to find the abbreviation.

For more detailed information, see OSCOLA Appendix 4.2 

What are pinpoints, how do I use them and page numbers?

A pinpoint is a precise reference to the part of a judgment or report through numbered paragraphs or page numbers. There are a number of ways you can pinpoint specific details within publications, depending on what the publication is. When citing more than one paragraph, place the numbers in square brackets. In this first example the pinpoints are at the end to paragraphs 42 and 45 of the case:

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

In this example for a secondary source the page number 131 is given at the end:

2 Colin Neville, The Complete Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism (2nd edn, OU Press 2010) 131.

 For more detailed information, see OSCOLA 2.1.6 and OSCOLA 4.2.5

What is cross citation?

Cross citation is when you are referring to discussion in another part of your writing, for example on an earlier page or in a previous chapter. It is good practice to use cross citation as little as possible. Try to be specific and use a specific footnote number (For example See n 52 for the footnote. OR: See text to n 22.)

For more detailed information see OSCOLA 1.2.2 

How do I cite a source I have already used in my writing?

For a case, cite in full the first time. For further references to the case, use a short form of the case name and a cross-citation in brackets to the original footnote. For example:

1 Niemietz v Germany (1992) 116 EHRR 97 (If the case name is included in the text, omit it in the footnote).

2 ibid [8] – [10] (If the subsequent citation is directly after the full citation, simply use the term ‘ibid’. If pinpointing specific paragraphs, place these in square brackets).

8 Niemietz (n 1) (When referring to a previous citation a number of footnotes back, use the short version of the case and add n as an abbreviation signposting the number of the footnote).

For subsequent citation of legislation, abbreviations are acceptable. For subsequent citation of secondary sources, you only need the author’s surname.

For more detailed information see OSCOLA 1.2

What is secondary referencing and how do I use it?

This means referring to a source you have not read that you have found within another source that you are using. Try to avoid secondary referencing as it is always preferable to use the original source and you should always try to locate this.

If you find you have to use secondary referencing, in the footnote cite the source you have read, followed by ‘citing’… For example:

Peter Alldridge, Money Laundering Law (Hart Publishing 2003) citing Hentrich v France (1994) 18 EHRR 40).

In the bibliography insert only the source you have read. There is no specific guidance on this within OSCOLA. 

How do I name judges?

When referring to a judge within a case, use the judge’s surname followed by the correct abbreviation. (Mr or Mrs Justice Smith should be called Smith J in your text).

The exception to this rule is when the judge holds a title. A Court of Appeal Judge who is Lord or Lady Smith should be referred to as Smith LJ.

  • A House of Lords judge should be referred to as Lord or Lady Smith and should not be abbreviated.
  • A Supreme Court judge should be referred to as Lord Smith SCJ.
  • The Lord Chief Justice can be abbreviated to Lord Woolf CJ.

For more detailed information see OSCOLA 2.1.7

Should I reference Westlaw or Lexis Library in my citation, if this is where I found the case law, legislation or journal article?

No – you do not need to include any information about Westlaw or Lexis Library in your citations, as this is just the portal through which you accessed the report, legislation or article. Simply reference the relevant source as you would a paper copy. 

Should I use Latin (ibid, op cit etc.) terms within my footnotes?

The only Latin term that is acceptable to use within the OSCOLA style is ‘ibid’, for the instances when you are referring to the same source in consecutive footnotes. Do not use other terms such as supra, op cit, loc cit.

For more information see OSCOLA 1.2.3 u 

Do I provide a bibliography or reference list and how do I compile it?

You are expected to produce a bibliography at the end of your assignments.  In accordance with section 1.7 of the OSCOLA guidance (p.11), a bibliography using the OSCOLA style "should include all such sources cited in the work and need not be indexed." 

The bibliography should be ordered into separate sections for Primary Sources (Table of Cases and then Table of Legislation) and lastly Secondary Sources. Each list of sources should be alphabetical and should not be numbered. Cases and Legislation should be arranged alphabetically by title. Secondary sources should be alphabetical by surname of the author.

According to the OSCOLA Guide (section 1.7, p.11): "Items in bibliographies take the same form as all other citations in OSCOLA, with three exceptions:

(1) the author’s surname should precede his or her initial(s), with no comma separating them, but a comma after the final initial;

(2) only initials should be used, and not forenames; and

(3) the titles of unattributed works should be preceded by a double em-dash."


Example of difference between footnote and bibliographic entry:


1 Adam White, The Politics of Private Security (Palgrave Macmillan 2010).


      White A, The Politics of Private Security (Palgrave Macmillan 2010).

Multiple works by one author should be listed with the works in chronological order. If the author has more than one publication in one year, put these in alphabetical order by the first major word of the title.

For more detailed information see OSCOLA 1.

@University of York 2016