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OSCOLA referencing guide

OSCOLA referencing guide

Cases (UK)

There are three different forms of case citations depending on the publication date

  • Cases after 2001 – Neutral citation, Report citation
  • Cases before 2001 – Report citation (Court)
  • Cases before 1865 - Nominate report citation / English Report citation

If you give the full case name in the main text of your text the case name can be omitted from the footnote but must be included in the Table of Authorities.

Here is an example video of a basic case citation.

Abbreviations

Both court and law report reports should be abbreviated.

Find abbreviations using the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations

Do not use any punctuation in abbreviations.

Square or round brackets?

Square brackets [ ]  are used when the year is necessary to identify the law report volume (for example when there is more than one volume published per year).

Round brackets ( ) are used when the year is not necessary to identify the law report volume (for example if there was only one volume published per year).

The most important law series (The Law Reports, Weekly Law Reports, Lloyds Law Reports, All England Law Reports) all have more than one volume per year so they will always need square brackets.

Which law report to cite?

Although there are no official law reports in England and Wales, the ICLR (Incorporated Council of Law Reporting) series are considered the most authoritative because they include the arguments of counsel and are checked by both counsel and the judge.

Use the ICLR "law reports" series (AC, KB, QB, Ch, Fam), if the case is reported there.

If a judgment is not reported in the Law Reports, cite the Weekly Law Reports or the All England Law Reports. Only if a judgment is not reported in one of these general series should you refer to a specialist series, such as the Lloyd’s Law Reports or the Family Law Reports.

Court abbreviations

Indicate the court in which the case was heard in brackets after the first page of the report, and before the pinpoint if there is one.

Use the following abbreviations:

House of Lords (HL)

Court of Appeal (CA)

High Court (Queen’s Bench) (QB)

High Court (King’s Bench) (KB)

High Court (Chancery) (CH)

High Court (Family) (F)

Commercial Court within the Queen’s Bench Division (Com Ct)

Citations of cases decided before 1865 do not require the court

Cases with a neutral citation do not require the court either unless the case was heard in one of the divisions of the High Court.

 

Cases after 2001 - Neutral citation, Report citation

These cases are numbered consecutively throughout the year and the abbreviation (UKHL, EWCH) indicates which court the case was heard in, rather than a law report series.

Neutral Citation = [Year] | Abbreviation for Court | Case number

Report Citation = [(Year)] | Volume | Abbreviation for Law Report | Page number

If a case is subsequently reported in a law report, use a comma to separate the neutral citation from the law report citation. For further information, have a look at the Guide to Neutral Citations.

Format:

Case name/Parties | [Year] | Court | Case number, | [year of publication] OR (year of judgment) | Volume | Report abbreviation | First page.

Footnote

Examples of cases that have been subsequently reported in a law report series:

Lloyd v Google LLC [2019] EWCA Civ 1599, [2020] 2 WLR 484.

Example footnote with a pinpoint to specific paragraphs

Takhar v Gracefield Developments Ltd [2019] UKSC 13, (2020) AC 450, [3]-[5].

Table of Authorities

The only difference is that case names are not italicised, pinpointing is not used and there is no full stop at the end. Cases identifying parties by initials only should be listed under the initial.

Lloyd v Google LLC [2019] EWCA Civ 1599, [2020] 2 WLR 484

Cases before 2001

Cases published before 2001 do not have a neutral citation.

Format:

Case name/Parties | [year] OR (year) | Volume | Report abbreviation | First page | Court.

Footnote

Mannai Investment Co Ltd v Eagle Star Life Assurance Co Ltd (1997) AC (HL).

Example footnote with a page pinpoint

R v Huelin (Valuation Officer) Ex p. Murphy Ltd [1998] 11 WLUK 525 (QB), 26.

Table of Authorities

Mannai Investment Co Ltd v Eagle Star Life Assurance Co Ltd [1997] AC (HL)

Cases before 1865

Before 1865 and the start of the official Law Report series, cases were reported by individuals and collectively known as the nominate reports. These were later reprinted in the English Reports series.

If a judgment is reprinted in the English Reports, you should give the citation in the nominate reports first followed by the English Reports.  Use a comma to separate the two different reports unless there is a pinpoint, in which case use a semi-colon to divide the nominate from the English Reports citation.

Format:

Case name/Parties | (year) | Volume | Report abbreviation | First page | Court.

Footnote

Thornton v Finch (1864) 66 ER 810.

Table of Authorities

Thornton v Finch (1864) 66 ER 810