This guide is developed in line with Nolan D and Meredith S, OSCOLA: Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (4th edn, Hart Publishing 2012).
- What is OSCOLA Citation Style?
- Why Citing and Referencing is Important
- General Principles of OSCOLA Formatting
- OSCOLA Citation for Primary Sources
- OSCOLA Citation for Secondary Sources
- Tables and Figures in OSCOLA
What is OSCOLA Citation Style?
The OSCOLA style can be considered a footnote-based alternative to the Harvard format, as it is also applied in universities throughout the world regardless of the discipline. In it, you assign each citation a footnote that duplicates the reference at the end of the paper almost precisely, with some exceptions such as using a specific page number. As such, the OSCOLA style is somewhat similar to the Chicago style, which formulates its footnotes slightly more briefly. It can also be considered close to the Vancouver and AMA styles, as it follows a similar idea but does not send the reader to the paper’s end and specifies the page.
Why Citing and Referencing is Important
You may be familiar with the need to cite information, but many places also require you to follow a strict guide and a specific style while doing so. Here are some reasons why both of these aspects are critical for your writing and overall career:
- The point of a paper is to show your understanding of the topic and then reach additional conclusions from there. You show this awareness by citing works in the field that support or oppose your findings.
- The sources you use have to warrant the trust of a reader, meaning scholars should generally acknowledge them. Peer review is an essential practice that differentiates high-quality sources from inferior ones.
- When you reference a source, you have to identify what it is and where it may be found in a form that is easy for the reader to understand. Hence, you should adhere to the template lest you commit some mistake that makes the citation unusable.
- Ultimately, if you are caught plagiarizing, whether intentionally or not, you will be severely punished. You may even be expelled or fired from your organization, receiving a bad mark on your record that will severely tarnish it.
General Principles of OSCOLA Formatting
- 1’’ (2.54 cm) margins
- Arial 12 unless other instructions are given.
OSCOLA, as a rule, is used to cite legal sources; therefore, it is difficult to call it a full-fledged style since there are no special requirements regarding the design of a title page and other nuances. One of the most important points is the application of footnotes in order to quote legal documents and files.
- Superscript numbers indicating footnotes are usually placed at the end of a sentence.
- A footnote marker may be put after a significant word or phrase.
- A full-stop is put after a superscript number at the end of a sentence.
- Semicolons are used to separate several citations within one footnote from one another.
- Single quotation marks are used instead of double.
Level 1 Is Centered, Bold and Capitalized
Level 2 Is Centered and Capitalized
Level 3 Is Flushed Left, Bold and Capitalized
Level 4 is flushed left, not capitalized and sentence-formatted.
- If the same resource follows the previous one on one page, it should not be repeated.
- In a subsequent citation of a source, briefly identify the source and provide a crosscitation in brackets to the footnote in which the full citation can be found.
- If the subsequent citation in the footnote immediately follows the full citation, use ‘ibid’ instead.
1. Qun Zhang, ‘Lean Six Sigma: A Literature Review’ (2012) 3 (10) IJCRB 599.
2. Ibid 600.
OSCOLA Reference List Notes
- Only secondary sources should be placed on a separate sheet after the body of the paper.
- Sources should be listed in alphabetical order and are to match the footnotes with a corresponding superscript number used in the document.
- If multiple sources of the same author are used, they are to be listed in chronical order with 2 em-dash replacing the author’s name.
Fromm E, The Fear of Freedom (Routledge & Kegan Paul 1942).
— — The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books 1987).
- If multiple sources of the same author and year are used, letter designations should be given after the year of publication (2014a, 2014b).
- Although most of the paper should be double-spaced, the single spacing is used on the reference list with an extra line to separate the entries.
OSCOLA Citation for Primary Sources
OSCOLA Cases Referencing
Cases with neutral citations
Case Name [year] Court number, [year] OR (year) | volume report abbreviation first page
- Give the name of the case in full when it is first mentioned in the text or footnotes; it may be shortened thereafter.
1. Corr v IBC Vehicles Ltd  UKHL 13,  1 AC 884.
2. Corr (n 14).
- A reference to a particular paragraph of a judgment or page of a report (pinpoint) may be stated at the end. Reference to a paragraph is written in square brackets.
3. Bunt v Tilley  EWHC 407 (QB),  3 All ER 336 –.
Cases without neutral citations
Case Name [year] OR (year) volume Report Abbreviation first page (court)
4. Barrett v Enfield LBC  AC 550 (HL).
5. Barrett (n 11).
6. Taylor v Glass  CLY 672 (CA)
7. Horton v Sadler  1 AC 307 (HL).
Cases from Scotland
In OSCOLA, citations of Scottish law reports have no punctuation other than commas separating page numbers.
8. Hislop v Durham (1842) 4 D 1168.
9. Adams v Advocate General 2003 SC 171 (OH).
Cases from Northern Ireland
10. Hylands v McClintock  NI 28.
OSCOLA UK Legislation Referencing
11. Criminal Attempts Act 1981, ss 1(1) and 4(3). 25 17.
12. Sexual Offences Act 2003, s 1(1)(c).
Title HC Bill (session) [number] OR Title HL Bill (session) number
13. Abortion HC Bill (2017-2019) .
UK acts of Parliament
Title year of adoption.
14. Parliament Act 1949.
Parts of UK acts
A short title year of adoption, session (subsection number)(paragraph).
15. Human Rights Act 1998, s 15(1)(b).
Statutory Instruments, or Sis
16. Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008, SI 2008/2841.
OSCOLA Devolved UK Legislatures Referencing
Act title asp number (Act of the Scottish Parliament).
17. Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 (asp 1).
Scottish SSIs (statutory instruments)
Title with a particular year SSI number.
18. The Letting Agent Registration (Scotland) Regulations 2016, SSI 2016/432.
Northern Ireland Assembly Acts
Title mentioning Northern Ireland year.
19. Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2013.
Northern Irish Statutory Rules
Title of the Rule, including Northern Ireland year, Statutory Rule number.
20. The Local Government (Specified Bodies) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012, SR 2012/8.
As a rule, specific measures are cited, which may be passed by the Welsh government. In footnotes, they are abbreviated as nawm. Such a citation includes:
Title of the measure year (number).
21. Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011 (nawm 3).
Welsh Statutory Instruments
Order title and year Welsh Statutory Instrument year/Instrument’s number in brackets.
22. The Independent Health Care (Fees) (Wales) Regulations Order 2011 Welsh Statutory Instrument 2011/106 (W. 25).
OSCOLA EU Cases Referencing
This type of official documentation includes legislation, directives, regulations, and decisions.
European Union Legislation
Title of legislation [year] series mentioned in Official Journal (OJ) issue/first page.
23. Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community  OJ C 306/01.
Directives, Regulations, and Decisions
Type of legislation number title [year] L series in the Official Journal issue/first page.
- European Union Directives:
24. Council Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society  OJ L 167/10.
- European Union Regulations:
25. Council Regulation (EU) 1984/2003 introducing a system for the statistical monitoring of trade in bluefin tuna, swordfish and big eye tuna within the Community  OJ L 295/1.
- European Union Commission Decisions
26. Alcatel/Telettra (Case No IV/M.042) Commission Decision  OJ L 122/48.
- Commission decisions should be cited the same as cases.
European Court of Justice (ECJ) and General Court (GC) Judgements
Prefix (“Case C-” for ECJ or “Case T-” for GC) number indicating the case registration Case Name [year] report citation.
27. Case C-557/12 Kone AG v OBB-Infrastruktur  C.M.L.R. 5.
OSCOLA Referencing International Law
United Nations laws
Author Title (date) number:
28. UNGA Res 67/97 (26 August 2008) A/63/332.
Title (date of adoption) publication mentioning (Short name) number of the article:
29. Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (adopted 10 June 1958, entered into force 7 June 1959) 330 UNTS 4739 (Foreign Arbitral Awards Convention) art 3.
International Court of Justice (ICJ) documents
Case Title [year] Court’s Report Citation/<link> accessed DD Month YYYY
30. Alleged Violations of Sovereign Rights and Maritime Spaces in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Colombia)  ICJ Judgement <https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/155> accessed 24 December 2018.
OSCOLA Citation for Secondary Sources
OSCOLA Referencing Books
Author, Title (additional information, edition, publisher year)
1. Ruta Sepetys, Salt to the Sea (Philomel Books 2016).
Sepetys R, Salt to the Sea (Philomel Books 2016).
Two or three authors
1. Andrew Bohm and Dean Chaudri, Securing Australia’s Future: An Analysis of the International Education Markets in India (IDP Education Australia 2000) 33–55.
Bohm A and Chaudri D, Securing Australia’s Future: An Analysis of the International Education Markets in India (IDP Education Australia 2000).
Four or more authors
1. Michael Bell and others, Universities Online: A Survey of Online Education and Services in Australia (Department of Education, Science and Training 2002) 45.
Bell M and others, Universities Online: A Survey of Online Education and Services in Australia (Department of Education, Science and Training 2002).
Books with editors or translators
1. Russell Baker (ed), The Norton Book of Light Verse (W. W. Norton 1986) 105.
- For one editor, use ed; for two and more – eds
- In a case with a translator, use tr / trs instead of ed / eds
Baker R (ed), The Norton Book of Light Verse (W. W. Norton 1986).
Authors plus editors or translators
1. Winston Churchill, The Literary Works of Winston Churchill (Samuel Jackson ed, The Limited Editions Club 1963) 12.
Churchill W, The Literary Works of Winston Churchill (Samuel Jackson ed, The Limited Editions Club 1963).
Multiple works by the same author
Using multiple works by the same author poses no challenge as all are to be cited in footnotes at the bottom of the page.
1. Erich Fromm, The Fear of Freedom (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1942) 33.
2. Erich Fromm, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1987) 42.
Fromm E, The Fear of Freedom (Routledge & Kegan Paul 1942).
—. The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (Penguin Books 1987).
1. John Kremer and Aidan Moran, Pure Sport: Practical Sport Psychology (2nd edn, Routledge 2013) 104.
Kremer J and Moran A, Pure Sport: Practical Sport Psychology (2nd edn, Routledge 2013).
Encyclopedia or dictionary
1. ‘Christianity’, The New Encyclopedia Britannica (15th edn, 2018) <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christianity/Church-tradition> accessed 24 December 2018.
‘Christianity’, The New Encyclopedia Britannica (15th edn, 2018) <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christianity/Church-tradition> accessed 24 December 2018.
- State either page number(s) or link and access date depending on whether the source is a published or found online.
Chapter in an edited book
1. Malcolm Higgs, ‘Change and Its Leadership: The Role of Positive Emotions’ in P. Alex Linley, Susan Harrington, and Nicola Garcea (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work (Oxford University Press 2013) 67–94.
Higgs M, ‘Change and Its Leadership: The Role of Positive Emotions’ in P. Alex Linley, Susan Harrington, and Nicola Garcea (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work (Oxford University Press 2013) 67–94.
OSCOLA Referencing Journals
Author, ‘Title’ [year] Journal Name or Abbreviation first page of article
Author, ‘Title’ (year) volume(number) Journal Name or Abbreviation first page of article
1. Qun Zhang and others, ‘Lean Six Sigma: A Literature Review’ (2012) 3(10) Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business 599.
Zhang Q and others, ‘Lean Six Sigma: A Literature Review’ (2012) 3(10) Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business 599.
The format is similar to that of journal articles, but in this case, <URL> or <doi> and access date are given.
1. Qun Zhang and others, ‘Lean Six Sigma: A Literature Review’ (2012) 3(10) Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business 599 <https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6303/744cf0edb78ac8512ecb660b19167b607ddb.pdf> accessed 24 December 2018.
Zhang Q and others, ‘Lean Six Sigma: A Literature Review’ (2012) 3(10) Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business 599 <https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6303/744cf0edb78ac8512ecb660b19167b607ddb.pdf> accessed 24 December 2018.
1. Barton Gellman and Ellen Nakashima, ‘US spy agencies mounted 231 offensive cyber-operations in 2011, documents show’ Washington Post (Washington, 13 August 2013) C3.
Gellman B and Nakashima E, ‘US spy agencies mounted 231 offensive cyber-operations in 2011, documents show’ Washington Post (Washington, 13 August 2013) C3.
OSCOLA Referencing Websites
Websites and blogs
1. Christie Daniels, ‘Pumpkin Pie’ (Easy Recipes, 25 April 2016) <www.easyrecipes.com/04/25/2016/pumpkin-pie> accessed 24 December 2018
Daniels C, ‘Pumpkin Pie’ (Easy Recipes, 25 April 2016) <www.easyrecipes.com/04/25/2016/pumpkin-pie> accessed 24 December 2018
OSCOLA Referencing Dissertations and Theses
Thesis or dissertation
1. Cynthia Lillian Rutz, ‘King Lear and Its Folktale Analogues’ (PhD diss., University of Chicago 2013) 99–100.
Rutz CL, ‘King Lear and Its Folktale Analogues’ (PhD diss., University of Chicago 2013).
OSCOLA Referencing Command Papers
Author, Paper Title (number, year).
1. Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office, Modernising government (Cm 4310, 1999) para 15.
Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office, Modernising government (Cm 4310, 1999).
OSCOLA Referencing Hansard (Official Debate and Speech Records)
House abbreviation Deb date, volume, column.
HL Deb 25 November 1997, vol 583, col 835.
- Suffix WS for citing a written statement:
HC Deb 15 April 2013, vol 561, col 18WS.
- Prefix WA for citing a written answer:
HL Deb 21 May 2013, vol 745, col WA39.
- Suffix WH for citing a debate in Westminster Hall:
HC Deb 29 January 2013, vol 557, cols 179-205WH.
- Series numbers for old records:
HC Deb (4th series) 18 July 1900, vol 86, col 341.
- Hansard of Standing Committee:
SC Deb (D) 25 May 2004, col 40.
- Since 2014, column references have not been used. More information may be found on the official website – https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-questions-answers/. Today, a possible relevant citation may look as follows:
HC 10 July 2018, PQ 162501.
OSCOLA Referencing Law Commission Reports
1. Law Commission, The 13th Programme of Law Reform (Law Com No 377, 2017).
2. Law Com No 377.
Law Commission, Report or Paper Title (number, year).
Law Commission, The 13th Programme of Law Reform (Law Com No 377, 2017).
OSCOLA Referencing Interpersonal Communications
Unpublished letters or emails
Communication Form from Author to Recipient (DD Month YYYY)
Letter from S Alexander to Gibson WR (1 November 1911).
Interviewee’s Name, Their Position, Educational Institution (if necessary), (Place of the interview date)
Interview with Marilyn Charlton, Professor of Social Science, Swansea University (Swansea 17 July 2017).
Tables and Figures in OSCOLA
The OSCOLA style requires that you provide each table and figure in a separate file, preferably in a Word, Excel, or EPS format. With that said, they are intended to be put in the text by the time of publication, so putting them into appendices is not necessary. They should be self-sufficient and possible to understand without their accompanying text. They may feature notes and other textual information, but not the title. You should denote the position in the passage where the object should be with a title saying “Table (Figure) #: Titlefootnote number.” Correspondingly, your file names should incorporate the type of object and its number to make it clear which item is contained within.
Figure 1: Glass world .
Even though tables and figures are excluded from the main file when you conduct your submission, they are taken into account as part of the total word count. As such, you should be careful when dealing with works that have a strict upper limit. Also, the standard consideration of describing the relevant pages in your citation when you take a table or figure from a print paper still applies. Usually, electronic sources will not have distinct pages, so you do not have to be concerned in that regard.
1. Environmental Science. 2018. Glass world. EnvironmentalScience.org. https://www.environmentalscience.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/NEPA-CEQA-640×425.jpeg (Accessed 2019-8-18).