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What Is OSCOLA Referencing?

OSCOLA Referencing stands for Oxford University Standard Citation Of Legal Authorities, and it is also known as Oxford referencing. The format is required to be used by postgraduate law students, which is why the Manual is primarily focused on citing legal cases. This referencing style is based upon citing all literature in footnotes, and its purpose is to provide credibility to a piece of scholar research.

General Principles. How To Use OSCOLA Referencing

Overall, there are several referencing styles that are similar to the format, but none of them will be able to tell you how to write a bibliography OSCOLA Style. The style is quite unique and complicated, so let’s take some time and go over the general principles of using OSCOLA in your law research.

  • Quotations

         According to the OSCOLA Referencing Guide, quotations of three lines and shorter should be incorporated as a part of the paragraph within single quotation marks. However, if you need to submit your paper via a plagiarism checker platform, you should use double quotation marks. Quotations that are longer than three lines should be incorporated into the text as a separate intended paragraph without quotation marks.

  • Footnotes

         The footnote marker should be put at the end of the sentence after the full stop; if it would improve clarity, it is allowed to put the marker after a single word or a phrase it relates to. If more than one citation is provided within one footnote reference, the entries should be separated with semicolons.

  • Authors’ Names

         The author’s name should be cited exactly as provided in the referenced source without any postnominals; works that have more than three authors should be credited with the first author’s name and “and others.” In case no individual author is responsible for a source, the organization or institution should be referenced as the author; in case no author is credited in the original source, the entry should start with the title. According to the OSCOLA Guide system, in footnotes, the author’s first name precedes their surname, and vice versa, when it comes to a bibliography entry.

  • Titles

         All referenced publications with ISBN should be italicized, and other works should be written within single quotation marks. All major words capitalization rules apply to the titles.

  • Dates

         If a full date must be cited, it should adhere to the format of “13 June 2020” with no “st” or “th” after the date. If a mentioned period lasts over several years of the same century, it should be written as “1995-97.”

  • Other

         If the citation used before is the same as the one being referenced, “ibid” can be put in the footnote with a different pinpoint if needed. A shortened form of citation can be used in the footnotes if the source was already referenced in the paper.

         OSCOLA Quick Reference also requires all page numbers to be referenced as a number without “p” or “pp” before it. Pinpoints to any page or chapter should be specified at the end of the footnote entry.

Cases. Main Examples Of OSCOLA Referencing

Since the OSCOLA Referencing is aimed at postgraduate law students, it should come as no surprise that a great deal of the guidelines is focused on referencing court cases. However, there are also other sources, so let’s go over every main OSCOLA Referencing example in the list below.

  • Case Citation

         Depending on the court and issued judgement, case citations may or may not include neutral citations. OSCOLA Referencing example of a case with neutral citation should be presented according to the structure of “case number, [year], court, number” or “(year), volume, report abbreviation, first page” with no commas between the entries. OSCOLA Referencing cases without neutral citation includes a case name (italicized) and [year] or is based upon the structure of “(year), volume, report abbreviation, first page, (court)” with no commas.

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

  • UK Acts And Bills

         One of the most common entries in OSCOLA Referencing footnotes is the UK Acts and Bills. The primary legislations are cited with a short title (italicized) and year without commas. Keep in mind that OSCOLA Website Referencing does not allow for popular titles of Acts. 

Act of Supremacy 1558

  • UK Statutory Instruments

         Such UK Statutory Instruments as orders, regulations, or rules are referenced with their name and year without a comma in between and the SI number (after a comma). OSCOLA Referencing bibliography requires parts of statutory instruments (articles, rules, and regulations) to be abbreviated.

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

  • OSCOLA Referencing Books

         When referencing a book or a similar online source with an ISBN, you must italicize the title and capitalize all major words. The order of a footnote entry should adhere to the structure of “author, title, and any additional information if provided.” Such additional information may include the publisher, edition, and year of publication, and must be provided within parentheses. Encyclopedias are cited in a similar manner, but the author is not included.

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

Benefits Of Using An OSCOLA Citation Generator

Just like with any other referencing format, there are certain peculiarities and potential issues. For many students, adhering to all of the guidelines and requirements may be challenging, which, in turn, may result in a lowered grade. Using a free OSCOLA Citation Generator will give you a variety of benefits when compared to compiling references by yourself. First of all, OSCOLA guidelines are updated every few years, and the OSCOLA Referencing Generator always incorporates the latest requirements. Secondly, different sources have to be referenced differently, and it can be easy to get confused with all of the cases and literary works. Lastly, using the automatic reference maker will save you lots of time, which is the most valuable asset for everyone, especially a university student.


What If My OSCOLA Template Differs From EduBirdie's OSCOLA Citation Generator?

The OSCOLA Citation Creator by EduBirdie relies upon the latest referencing guidelines, so there’s a chance that your template might be outdated.

How Can I Make My OSCOLA Referencing Perfect?

To make your OSCOLA Referencing perfect, be sure to use the EduBirdie Citation Generator and enter complete information about your sources; the rest is on us.

How Should Titles Be Formatted?

Titles of all publications with ISBN should be italicized, and the others should be written within single quotation marks; general capitalization rules apply.

What If I Need to Cite Source That OSCOLA Manual Doesn't Have?

If the OSCOLA Manual doesn’t include a specific source type, you can adhere to the general referencing guidelines; alternatively, you can use the Citation Generator.