Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities

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The Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) is a style guide that provides the modern method of legal citation in the United Kingdom; the style itself is also referred to as OSCOLA. First developed by Peter Birks of the University of Oxford Faculty of Law, and now in its 4th edition (2012, Hart Publishing, ISBN 9781849463676), it has been adopted by most law schools and many legal publishers in the United Kingdom. An online supplement (developed for the third edition) is available for the citation of international legal cases, not covered in the main guide.[1]


Cases are to be cited without periods in the names or the report names. If there is a neutral citation, which is generally the case after 2001 or 2002, cite it before the 'best' report: the Law Reports (AC, QB, Ch etc.), or the WLR or the All ER.

When you cite something for a second time, an abbreviation can be used. In a footnote referring back to a particular page and another footnote, this would be,

  • Carlill (n 12) 854
  • The Achilleas (n 13) [12]
N.B. The foregoing parenthetical reference to a prior note or page may be disrupted if an editor inserts a new reference in the article before the reference of the parenthetical.

For European Union cases,

  • Case 240/83 Procureur de la République v ADBHU [1985] ECR 531

For European Court of Human Rights cases,

  • Omojudi v UK (2009) 51 EHRR 10

Journals and books[edit]

Journal articles, books etc. should be cited with the author's name as shown in the work being cited. Journal abbreviations are in roman, with no periods (full stops). If the journal does not have consecutive volume numbers, the year should be shown in square brackets, as in the second example.

  • Alison L Young, 'In Defence of Due Deference' (2009) 72 MLR 554
  • Paul Craig, 'Theory, '"Pure Theory" and Values in Public Law' [2005] PL 440

Books follow a similar pattern. Note the order is Author, Title (Edition, Publisher Year) page.

  • Joseph Raz, The Authority of Law: Essays on Law and Morality (2nd edn, OUP 2009)

If a title and a subtitle have nothing in between, a colon should be used to separate them. A chapter in an edited book would be cited as follows.

  • Justine Pila, 'The Value of Authorship in the Digital Environment' in William H Dutton and Paul W Jeffreys (eds), World Wide Research: Reshaping the Sciences and Humanities in the Century of Information (MIT Press 2000)


The title of UK legislation should always be written in Roman with the year at the end. The section is abbreviated without any periods.

EU legislation should be as follows.

  • Council Directive 2001/29/EC of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society [2001] OJ L167/10

Hansard and Parliamentary reports[edit]

  • HC Deb 3 February 1977, vol 389, cols 973-76
  • Joint Committee on Human Rights, Legislative Scrutiny: Equality Bill (second report); Digital Economy Bill (2009-10, HL 73, HC 425) 14-16

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "OSCOLA 2006: Citing International Law Sources Section" (PDF). Law.Ox.ac.uk. Faculty of Law, University of Oxford. 2006. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 3 December 2017.

External links[edit]