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Referencing guide at the University of Manchester: OSCOLA


The information contained within these pages is intended as a general referencing guideline.

Please check with your supervisor to ensure that you are following the specific guidelines required by your school.

What is OSCOLA?

The Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) 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.

Nota bene: This is a footnote style of referencing.

OSCOLA is edited by the Oxford Law Faculty, in consultation with the OSCOLA Editorial Advisory Board.

The information detailed within this webpage is based on the Book:

OSCOLA (4th edn, Hart Publishers) is available in book stores, from Hart Publishers and other online bookstores (ISBN13: 9781849463676).


When referencing at Manchester

Whenever you paraphrase or quote a source or use the ideas of another person, you need to cite the source of the material.

  • Insert a footnote marker after the full stop at the end of the sentence or after the word or phrase to which it relates to.
  • At the bottom of the page, note the footnote number and give the full citation.
  • End the footnote with a full stop.

Number your footnotes continuously through your document, starting at 1.


It is vital to acknowledge your sources, both to improve the quality of your essay and to avoid plagiarism (discussed in more detail in the essay writing guide).


At the end of your essay there should be a bibliography listing the materials that you have used. Different types of source (books, articles, cases, etc) should be in separate sections.

Books and articles should be listed in alphabetical order according to the surname of the author; cases should be given alphabetically according to the name of the first named party; other materials should be presented alphabetically by title. In addition to the bibliography, you should refer to your sources in your essay itself.

Different disciplines have different traditions as to how sources are referenced, both in your bibliography and in your essay. Below are suggestions for law subjects.

For law subjects a suitable referencing system is the Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA). Produced by the Faculty of Law in Oxford, this is used in many law schools in the United Kingdom and by some law publishers

In your essay

Use footnotes to give details of your sources and not at the end of your work.

You should use the format that you would use in your bibliography; it is unnecessary to put “See” before the citation. However, you will need to add “pinpoints” to indicate the relevant page(s) or paragraph(s) of the book, article, case, etc. that contains the relevant discussion. In OSCOLA specific pages are referred to by giving the page number (without any “page”or “p” before it), while paragraphs are denoted by using square brackets (without any“ para”).

OSCOLA Primary sources

Do not use full stops in abbreviations. Separate citations with a semi-colon.

The following provide examples of how you reference primary sources.


Give the party names, followed by the neutral citation, followed by the Law Reports citation (eg AC, Ch, QB). If there is no neutral citation, give the Law Reports citation followed by the court in brackets. If the  case  is  not  reported  in  the  Law  Reports,  cite  the  All ER or the WLR, or failing that a specialist report.

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

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

Page v Smith [1996] AC 155 (HL)

When   pinpointing,   give   paragraph   numbers   in square brackets at the end of the citation.  If the judgment has no paragraph numbers, provide the page number pinpoint after the court.

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

Bunt v Tilley [2006] EWHC 407 (QB), [2006] 3 All ER 336 [1]–[37]

R v Leeds County Court, ex p Morris [1990] QB 523 (QB) 530–31

If citing a particular judge:

Arscott v The Coal Authority [2004] EWCA Civ 892, [2005] Env LR 6 [27] (Laws LJ)

Statutes and statutory instruments

Act of Supremacy 1558

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

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

EU legislation and cases

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

Council Regulation (EC) 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings (EC Merger Regulation) [2004] OJ L24/1, art 5

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

European Court of Human Rights

Omojudi v UK (2009) 51 EHRR 10

Osman v UK ECHR 1998–VIII 3124

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

Simpson v UK (1989) 64 DR 188

OSCOLA Secondary sources

This guide provides you with examples of how to cite references correctly in the text of your assignments.

OSCOLA does not purport to be comprehensive, but gives rules and examples for the main UK legal primary sources, and for many types of secondary sources. As far as possible, the guidelines in OSCOLA are based on common practice in UK legal citation, but with a minimum of punctuation. When citing materials not mentioned in OSCOLA, use the general principles in OSCOLA as a guide, and try to maintain consistency.

The following provide examples of how you reference secondary sources.


Give  the  author’s  name  in  the  same  form  as  in  the  publication,   except   in   bibliographies,   where   you   should   give   only   the   surname   followed   by   the   initial(s).  Give  relevant  information  about  editions,  translators  and  so  forth  before  the  publisher,  and  give  page  numbers  at  the  end  of  the  citation,  after  the brackets.


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)

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

Chapter of edited book

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


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

Journal articles

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

When pinpointing, put a comma between the first page of the article and the page pinpoint.

JAG Griffith, ‘The Common Law and the Political

Constitution’ (2001) 117 LQR 42, 64

Online journal

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

Command papers and Law Commission report

Department for International Development, Eliminating World Poverty: Building our Common Future (White Paper, Cm 7656, 2009) ch 5 Law Commission, Reforming Bribery (Law Com No 313, 2008) paras .12–3.17

Websites and blogs

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

Newspaper articles

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

Reference management software & OSCOLA

The OSCOLA style is not available in the EndNote software, But can be downloaded from this page (below).

EndNote Online is free  web-based implementation of EndNote. OSCOLA is one of the styles available when using EndNote Online.

Mendeley is a free reference manager and an academic social network. Manage your research, showcase your work, connect and collaborate with others.

OSCOLA is available as a style to download and add.

To quickly insert a footnote in word use Ctrl-Alt-F then insert your reference.

Further information

University of Oxford provide a faq section on their website supporting OSCOLA enquiries:

Cardiff University provide a thorough tutorial for Citing the law, which will show you how to:

  • Cite cases and legislation, i.e. the ‘primary’ sources of law, in the accepted way
  • Refer to ‘secondary’ sources such as books, journals and government reports in your work
  • Cite using OSCOLA, the Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities, fourth edition

Cardiff also provide the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations: This database allows you to search for the meaning of abbreviations for English language legal publications, from the British Isles, the Commonwealth and the United States, including those covering international and comparative law.

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