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Referencing and plagiarism


OSCOLA is the Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities.  It follows the footnote style of referencing. OSCOLA is designed to assist with the consistent and accurate citation of cases, legislation, and other legal material. It is used by law schools as well as some journal and book publishers in both the UK and abroad. 

You can access Oxford University's OSCOLA guide here.  Alternatively, the University of Lincoln OSCOLA Referencing Handbook can be accessed here. Both guides are designed to help you understand how to cite and reference sources of information appropriately using the OSCOLA system of referencing. 

They provide guidance and examples on different types of information that you may need to cite and reference within your academic work; however, it is impossible to include every type of information source. If the information source you would like to reference is not listed, you should use the reference format of a source that is similar.  

If you have any questions about OSCOLA referencing, please contact your Academic Subject Librarian.

Additional resources

OSCOLA Referencing tutorial

Example of a Table of Cases, Table of Legislation and Bibliography

Click on the Word document below to see an example of how a Table of Cases, Table of Legislation and Bibliography should be set out at the end of your assignment.

How do I reference..

The OSCOLA referencing handbook provides information on how to reference print and online journals.

The majority of the journals that you will find (through databases like Westlaw, LexisLibrary or the library website) are print journals that have been made available electronically.  For these journals you should follow the guidelines of a print journal.

Occasionally you will come across journals that are only accessible online (these are often from relatively unknown or small publishing companies).   An example of this is the European Journal of Current Legal Issues.  Journals like these are known as eJournals and should be referenced following the guidelines of an online journal.

You can find out more about whether a journal is available in print by searching for the publisher and publication. 

When referring to Topic Overviews or Legal Concepts from Westlaw, follow the guidelines for referencing a website but put the name of the database in place of the URL:

Topic Overview

Daniel Greenberg, ‘Land Registration’ (Overview of Topic, 15 October 2019) <Westlaw> accessed 18 September 2020.

Key Legal Concept

Daniel Greenberg, 'Cabinet' (Key Legal Concept, 16 August 2020) <Westlaw> accessed 14 September 2020.

When referring to Practice Notes or Legal Updates from Practical Law, follow the guidelines for referencing a website but put the name of the database in place of the URL:

Oliphant R, 'COVID-19 - Electronic Signatures, Digital Signatures and E-Signing Platforms FAQs' (Practice Notes) <Practical Law> accessed 11 January 2021.

PLC Client, 'Supreme Court Upholds Pre-Nuptial Agreement in Radmacher Case' (Legal Update, 3 November 2010) <Practical Law> accessed 3 February 2022.

If you are required to cite information generated by AI, reference it by providing the following information:

  1. AI generator name, followed by a comma
  2. In single quotation marks the prompt submitted to the AI program
  3. In round brackets the version/edition number (if applicable) followed by a comma, the publisher’s name followed by the day, month and year the content was generated):

ChatGPT, ‘How can AI be used Effectively in Higher Education?’ (ver 2, Open AI 15 August 2023).