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 978-1-84946-367-6),[1] 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.[2]


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.

Use round brackets if the year is not needed to identify the report, but square brackets when it is. For example, the All England Reports are identified by year then volume, meaning you should use something such as "[2005] 1 All ER".[3]

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,

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,

For European Court of Human Rights cases,

Journals and books

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.

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

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.


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.

Hansard and Parliamentary reports

See also


  1. ^ "Oxford University Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities" (PDF). Oxford University Faculty of Law. 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "OSCOLA 2006: Citing International Law Sources Section" (PDF). Faculty of Law, University of Oxford. 2006. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Cases (UK)". OSCOLA referencing guide. University of Northampton. Retrieved 2022-03-09.

Further reading