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OSCOLA Quick Reference Guide

Learn the Rules of OSCOLA on the Tips of Your Hands

22 Jul 2022

11 minutes

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“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” — George Bernhard Shaw

Are you moved by this quote and want to include it in your assignment? But, don’t have an idea about how to refer to it properly? Don't worry, you've arrived at the right place. In this blog, we will learn about everything that is related to the OSCOLA referencing style. What are the footnote citations? Where and how to use them? So get your heads and pens out and start learning OSCOLA style.

What Is OSCOLA Referencing Style?

OSCOLA stands for Oxford University Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities and is a referencing style mainly used by law scholars in their assignments and other documents.

It is a footnote style of referencing, which implies that you have small superscript numbers in the text, for example, 1,2,3, etc. And the link/reference to them in the footnote.

Creating Citations Using OSCOLA Footnotes

A citation footnote is used when you quote, paraphrase, or directly refer to a particular piece of writing in your content.

An OSCOLA footnote is highlighted in the text by using a footnote number that will appear at the end of the whole cited source in the text. The number displayed in the footnote will be in superscript form.For example, 1,2,3, etc. It follows a punctuation mark such as a full stop or comma.

These footnotes are then mentioned in full detail. However, the format in which you present them varies according to the type of source. To clear up any confusion, look at the example below.

Footnote: In Julie v Jhonny,3Carson said this...

Footnote Information: Julie v Jhonny (1943) AC 716

Tables and Bibliography of OSCOLA

In a lengthy document like a thesis or dissertation, you will be required to mention table listings of any cases and legislation you have referred to, as well as a bibliography listing for secondary resources. For shorter documents like essays, this process is not required. And sources are to be posted in alphabetical order in each table and in the bibliography.

Tables: Sources are written in the same format as in the main text; the only main difference will be that the names of people will not be in italic format.

Bibliography: It lists all the secondary sources that you have used in your content. Bibliography differs from citations as the author's names are inverted and the initial is used in place of their first name.

Why Use Abbreviation in OSCOLA?

In the OSCOLA citation, abbreviations are used to save space for various publications and legal bodies.

For example, A.L.R.2d — American Law Reports, 2nd Series, WTO —World Trade Organization, USCA — United States Code Annotated, etc

How to Pinpoint in OSCOLA?

When a specific page number is referred to within a source, it is called pinpointing. To use this technique, write a page number at the end of your citation, and you can also refer to a specific passage on that page itself.

For example, Dane v Jack [1998] 10 AC[5],[7].

Here [5] refers to the page number and [7] refers to the passage.

Cross-Referencing Repeated Referencing in OSCOLA

OSCOLA referencing style is designed in a way to saves space in every way possible. Cross-referencing system means saving space when you use the same citation a number of times.

If by any chance you refer to the same source that you have referred previously to this

one, you will not be required to repeat the same source again. You will just be required to use ‘ibid’ which in Latin means the same place. For example,

  1. Dane v Jack [1998] 10 AC[5],[7].
  2. Ibid [6]
  3. In this example, the second footnote still cites to Dane v Jack [1998] 10 AC[5],[7].but to page number [6] rather than to page number [5]

    Examples of OSCOLA Referencing

    The OSCOLA style is used in various formats; the most used are mentioned below with their examples.

    Cite Book in OSCOLA Style

    Use the surname of the person and the initial of their first name, with detailed information about the publication and year of it.

    • Format: Author Surname A, Title (Publisher Year Published)
    • Example: Garnaut R, The Garnaut Review 2011: Australia In The Global Response To Climate Change (Cambridge University Press 2011)

    Cite Statuary Papersin OSCOLA Style

    Statutory Papers are numbered succeedingly throughout the year. It is the number that appears at the end of any reference.

    • Format: Title Year, SI Year/Number.
    • Example: Communications (Isle of Man) Order 2020, SI 2020/149.

    Cite Journal in OSCOLA Style

    In a journal case, use brackets to mention the year and quote everything properly cited.

    • Format: Author Surname A, 'Title' (Year Published) Volume number Publication Title <http://Website URL>
    • Example: Sherman S, 'Perils Of The Princess: Gender And Genre In Video Games' (1997) 56 Western Folklore <http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1500277> accessed 23 October 2014

    Cite Movie in OSCOLA Style

    The movie format is simple. Just use the name of the movie along with its publishing year.

    • Format: Title (Publisher Year Published)
    • Example: Gone with the Wind, 1939

    Cite Act of Parliamentin OSCOLA Style

    Try to use a short version of the title if it is longer than three words. Also, refer to parts of an act using sub-sections and sections.

    • Format: Act title Year, s Section number(Subsection number)(Paragraph number).
    • Example: Offensive ARMS Act 2018, s 12(7)(b).

    Cite Court Casein OSCOLA Style

    Begin with the title of the first name that they are debating, their volume number, and also mention the year in which the case ended.

    • Format: Title [Year Published] Location, Volume number Document Title/Name (Location)
    • Example: The Trial Script in Dane v Ruby and Rachel Chamberlain [1989] James Court House (James Court House)

    Cite Dictionary Entryin OSCOLA Style

    Include the surname of the writer with the link to the same.

    • Format: Author Surname A, 'Title' <http://Website URL> accessed Date Accessed
    • Example: <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/corona?s=t> accessed 10 September 2019

    Cite in E-mailOSCOLA Style

    In the e-mail, refer to the writer's surname with the publishing year.

    • Format: Author Surname A, 'Title' (Year Published)
    • Example: Judy K. to Mary Starry, 'The Global Sale Scale - Data Evaluation Research(2013)

    Cite Bills in OSCOLA Style

    These are referred to a bit differently; they are called High of Common (HC) or House of Lords (HL) Bills, and the bill number will appear at the end.

    • Format: Bill title HC Bill (Session) [Bill number]
    • Example: Custom Duty HC Bill (1989–1990) [5]

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