When preparing a piece of work, it is inevitable that you will refer to sources written by other authors. It is essential that you provide detailed, accurate information about the sources you have used. This information must be provided for a number of reasons:
As a general rule, a citation must enable another person using your work to easily identify and locate the sources that you have used in your research.
CITATION – this is where you refer to the source in the text of your document. This could be a shortened way of citing the source, with full details given in the reference list. There are different ways of writing an in-text citation; OSCOLA is a footnote system which uses a numerical footnote marker in the form of a superscript number (e.g. words.1), with a footnote at the base of the same page.
REFERENCE – the full bibliographic details of the source you have cited. In the OSCOLA style this is given as a reference list at the bottom of the page the reference(s) appear upon, known as footnote(s).
Citation in a footnote:
15 Elizabeth Fisher, Risk Regulation and Administrative Constitutionalism (Hart Publishing 2007).
BIBLIOGRAPHY – this includes any sources you have read as part of your research, whether you have cited them directly or not. A bibliography appears at the end of your work.
Citation in a bibliography:
Fisher E, Risk Regulation and Administrative Constitutionalism (Hart Publishing 2007)
OSCOLA is a guide and offers a consistent method of citing legal materials in your work. It is not a definitive. If the material you wish to cite is not included in the OSCOLA rules or guidelines then use the general principles of the standard to maintain consistency. You will not be penalised for this.
The Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities is designed to facilitate accurate citation of authorities, legislation, and other legal materials. It is widely used in law schools and by journal and book publishers in the UK and beyond. OSCOLA is edited by the Oxford Law Faculty, in consultation with the OSCOLA Editorial Advisory Board.
This tutorial will show you how to:
The resource was devised by Cathie Jackson and Ian Bradley, Information Services staff at Cardiff University and was partly funded by the UK Centre for Legal Education. The 4th edition revisions have been added by Matthew Davies and Lynn Goodhew.
The OSCOLA (4th edition) guide does not include International Law. Please refer to this document if you wish to cite treaties, UN documents, ICJ publications or other international sources.
[Source: OSCOLA website]
Learn how to use EndNote with OSCOLA using our step-by-step reference guide.
Printed copies of this guide are available in the Philip Robinson Library and the Law Library.