OSCOLA Referencing
Proofreading And Editing

Cite Your Sources Clearly

Introducing OSCOLA Referencing

The Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (or ‘OSCOLA’ for short) is a style guide created by the University of Oxford Law Faculty. Currently on its fourth edition, OSCOLA is also the standard citation style for legal writing in the UK.

Our editors are experts with OSCOLA referencing. If you are using a different type of legal citation, though, we can still help. Click here for information on the other systems we support.

OSCOLA Referencing Proofreading Services

OSCOLA can seem quite confusing if you’re new to the system. But with a little help from our academic editors, you can be sure your referencing is error free. Simply submit a document for proofreading and we’ll assign an OSCOLA expert to check it.

How To Select
OSCOLA Referencing

We will ask you to pick a referencing style when you upload your document. To do this, simply select ‘OSCOLA’ from the drop-down menu upon upload. We will then make sure your referencing always follows standard OSCOLA conventions.

You can also provide instructions here. Just enter any notes that you want your proofreader to see in the comment box and we will take them on board.

How To Select A Referencing Style

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OSCOLA Bibliographies

The fourth edition of OSCOLA says that ‘shorter works, such as articles and essays, generally only require footnotes’. As such, you may not need a bibliography in your document. However, most universities prefer students to include one, so don’t leave this out unless you are sure that it is okay to do so. If you do include a bibliography, it should be divided into two main sections:

  • A ‘Table of Authorities’ for primary sources (depending on what you’ve cited, this is then subdivided into cases, legislation, and statutory instruments)
  • A ‘Bibliography’ for secondary sources (divided into sections for books, official publications, book chapters, journal articles, other print sources, and online sources)

The Table of Authorities should contain all primary sources. The information to include here is typically the same as in the first footnote citation for the source, except:

  • Case names are not italicised, unlike elsewhere in the document
  • Sources of the same type should be listed alphabetically by the first main word (e.g. ‘Re Farquar’s Estate’ becomes ‘Farquar’s Estate, Re’)

The bibliography, meanwhile, should list all secondary sources. The rules here include:

  • Author surnames should be given first, followed by initials
  • Sources of the same type should be listed alphabetically by the author’s surname
  • No pinpoint references are required, unlike in footnotes
  • You do not need a full stop at the end of a bibliography entry

So, for example, the book from the footnote above would be listed as follows:

O’Rights, B, Constitutional Protection (2nd edn, Hodder & Foulson 1998)

Footnote Citations In OSCOLA Referencing

OSCOLA referencing uses footnote citations. This means that you need to signal a citation with a superscript number in the main text of your document. Typically, this number goes at the end of the relevant clause, after punctuation. For example:

This practice, although effective, has been challenged in the courts.¹

This number points to a footnote at the bottom of the page, where you should give details of the cited source. The information to include here varies depending on the source type. And OSCOLA divides sources into two main categories:

  • Primary sources (e.g. legal documents, such as case reports and legislation)
  • Secondary sources (e.g. books, websites, and journal articles)

You can find out more about how to cite different source types here. But you can also see example footnotes for a case report, a legislative act, and a book below:

¹ PI vs Walls [2008] UKHL 15, [2008] 4 AC 1284.
² Human Rights Act 1998 s 7.
³ Bill O’Rights, Constitutional Protection (2nd edn, Hodder & Foulson 1998) 245.

Referencing Styles And Systems

Our expert editors can work with a range of referencing styles, including:

We can work with other referencing styles on request, too. Just let us know which system you’re using when you upload your work, and we’ll tailor our service accordingly. For more information on legal referencing styles, such as OSCOLA and AGLC, see our dedicated legal referencing page.

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