Referencing using OSCOLA

Halsbury's Laws of England

Being able to accurately cite the source you have used in your work is an important academic skill.

Citing correctly:

  • Provides the relevant legal authority to support your work
  • Enables the reader to find the sources you have used
  • Helps you to avoid plagiarism as you are acknowledging where you have used other people’s work or ideas
  • Demonstrates the range of research and variety of sources you used while preparing your work
  • Strengthens and supports your arguments by providing evidence from reliable and trustworthy sources.

There are various styles of citation but although these vary in style the same principle applies: you are giving the reader all the information they need in order to trace your source item.

OSCOLA referencing

Sunderland Law School uses the OSCOLA [Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities] system, a specialist referencing system for Law.

You can find both the full 4th ed. OSCOLA guide, and the Quick Start Guide on the OSCOLA website.

Once you are familiar with the concepts and examples in the full guide, you will find the Quick Start guide a useful quick-reference document.

On the same website, you can also find useful FAQs about OSCOLA

Information Services staff at Cardiff University have produced a helpful online tutorial on Citing the Law: Referencing Using OSCOLA

Cite Them Right is a guide to help you get started with the principles of citing and referencing and contains an excellent overview of OSCOLA and referencing legal materials.

For further help and support in developing your referencing skills, see our Library & Study Skills guides or book a 1-2-1 with a Study Skills Advisor or for quick referencing queries, chat to us on Library Talk 24/7.


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