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OSCOLA: the Citation Formatting of Law Papers

November 4th, 2015

letter writingIf the word OSCOLA frightens you, you’re not alone. But it’s not as black as it’s painted in reality. Make sure to get aware of the short introduction to the OSCOLA referencing method provided below, as well as some useful help that will enable you to get started with the project.

Let’s start with a clear statement of what the OSCOLA referencing is. OSCOLA or the Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities is one of the most preferred and popular referencing methods that are used by the representatives of the Bristol Institute of Legal Practice and Bristol Law School.

If you are not law school students and you are in need of using the legal materials, you may have to make use of the UWE Harvard referencing standard. However, before you do so, approach your tutor to get the related recommendations.

Now let us take a quick look at how OSCOLA works. According to the method, you as the author must reference all your sources of information used within the project in bibliography section and footnotes. Now, one step at a time. The footnotes. First of all, when citing the other work on the pages of your project, make certain to insert a little superscript number in order to denote the footnote.  At the same page bottom, directly in the footnote, do not forget to insert the reference. When dealing with the footnote reference, it is required to refer to the specific page this is what they call ‘pinpointing’). It’s good to know that MS Word provides the users with an opportunity to automatically insert those footnotes. Now, proceeding to the bibliography section, include all the references at the end of the project in a full bibliography. But make sure to do that right before the appendices. When working on the bibliography section, remember that it is a list that includes all information sources that you have used in the paper. Exactly in this part of the paper you have to reference the information source not as a specific page, but as a whole.  In general, there should be three parts included into the bibliography section: tables of cases, table of legislation and bibliography (meaning, the bunch of all the other secondary sources, journals, books and newspaper articles and so on). Mind that your instructor may require you to provide the tables of cases and legislation right at the paper beginning and separately.

As for the references, in case with the OSCOLA style references in the bibliography and footnotes should be properly formatted in the OSCOLA style. In other words, the punctuation, italics and brackets must be used correctly, while the required bibliographic material should be correctly presented and ordered. If you’ve got some questions related to the OSCOLA style refer to the free guidelines on how to format your project in this style.

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