OSCOLA Referencing Guide
The best source to use for UK cases (Law Reports) is a neutral citation for cases after 2001, followed by the most authoritative source, such as the Official Law Reports. The Weekly Law Reports are the next best followed by the All England Reports.
Case names should be in Italics and in lower case (including the ‘v ‘). The date should be in square or round brackets depending on the style of the report series. If a report has several volumes in one year then it must be placed in square brackets. The volume number follows the date and the report series in which the case appears is abbreviated, e.g. AC for Appeal Cases. The last number is the first page of the report. This is followed by the initials of the name of the court in brackets:
Giles v Thompson  1 AC 142 (HL)
The preferred source is the European Court Reports for European Court cases. If there is no ECR citation the Common Market Law Reports should be used. Cases after 1989 are numbered according to whether they have come from the European Court of Justice (prefix C) or the Court of First Instance (prefix T).
Citation starts with the case number, then the party names in italics, the law report series, and finally the page number:
Case C 212/ 03 Commission of the European Communities v France  ECR 1-4213
For Acts of Parliament, most acts can be cited using the short title and date, with ‘s’ added to identify a particular section, followed by the section number and subsection in brackets:
Constitutional Reform Act 2005 s 45(4)
For EC Legislation the different types of legislative documents need to be included in the citation (i.e. Directives, Regulations and Decisions). Details are usually extracted from the Official Journal of the European Communities (OJ) ‘L’ (Legislation) series. It is important to provide the number, full title, date and reference from the OJ:
Council Directive (EC) 2000 / 43 of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin  OJ L 180 / 22.
The OSCOLA referencing system uses footnotes, with the superscript number appearing after the relevant punctuation in the text. Where a case name is provided in the text, it does not need to be repeated in the footnote, and a quotation does not need to be footnoted separately from the text if the two appear in the same sentence. Longer quotes need to be spaced down a line, indented from both sides of the margin and introduced by using a colon:
It is well represented in the the no-conflict rule advocated by Lord Upjohn in Phipps v Boardman,31 and in the earlier Court of Appeal decision in Boulting v Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians.32 In Boulting [or ‘in the Boulting case’], Upjohn LJ said that the rule ‘must be applied realistically to a state of affairs which discloses a real conflict of duty and interest and not to some rhetorical or conceptual conflict’.33 In Phipps, Lord Upjohn also added that there must be a ‘real sensible possibility of conflict’.34
The footnotes would then appear as follows:
31  2 AC 46 (HL).
32  2 QB 606 (CA).
33 Boulting (n 32) 638. [or] 33 ibid 638.
34 Phipps (n 31) 124.
For a book the citation should be written as author’s initials, surname, title (in italics), edition, the publisher place of publication follow in brackets, date and page number:
MT Molan, Criminal Law: Cases and Materials (3 rd edn Cavendish, London 2005) 29.
If the book is a collection of chapters edited by more than one person, the term ‘ed’ or ‘eds’ should be written after their name.
If more than two authors are used the details of the first author must be given followed by the words ‘and others’.
For specific chapters in edited books, the word ‘in’ should be inserted and the title of the chapter placed in single inverted commas:
MA Jones, ‘Breach of Duty’ in A Grubb (ed), Principles of Medical Law (2nd edn OUP,Oxford 2004).
For secondary referencing, every attempt should be made to ensure that the original source of information is used.
For journal articles the author of the article is followed by the title of the article in single inverted commas, the date (in square or round brackets according to the rules which apply to Law Reports), the volume number, the issue number in brackets, the title of the Law Journal (generally abbreviated), and the first page of the article:
J Rowbottom, ‘ Media Freedom and Political Debate in the Digital Era’ (2006) 69 MLR 489.
Newspaper articles should be cited the same as Journal articles but the title of the newspaper should be put in italics. If there is no author the word editorial should be used instead. The city and date of publication also needs to be written in brackets, followed by the page number:
J Rozenberg, ‘Falconer Launches Human Rights Drive Defence’ Daily Telegraph (London September 29 2006) 2
To cite websites such as a professional organisation, citations should be written as author (or corporate author), the title (in inverted commas), the full web address, the access date, followed by the document type:
Campaign for Freedom of Information, ‘Whistleblowing’
http://www.cfoi.org.uk/whistle.html accessed 23 October 2006
Official (Government) Publications.
This section has looked at OSCOLA referencing. This style seems complicated and difficult to get to grips with at first, however with time and practice it becomes relatively straightforward and easy to follow. OSCOLA referencing editions are updated regularly so it is important to ensure that the paper abides by the latest edition. There are some fundamental principles that should be considered throughout the writing of a paper in this style:
OSCOLA has very little punctuation.
All abbreviations used must be explained in a list of abbreviations.
Dates in round brackets just cite the date, whereas dates are put in square brackets when the volume uses the date to identify itself.
The acronym which identifies the court must be included and footnotes should be used starting with a capital letter.
Quotations within the text are enclosed with single quotation marks and a quotation which is longer than three lines in length is separated from the other text and double indented.
In OSCOLA it is important to arrange the bibliography in separate sections for cases, secondary sources and legislation, with each section being arranged alphabetically.
The OSCOLA style is very unique and law materials will be referenced differently in other books and official sources.