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Referencing and citations - OSCOLA: Legislation

Referencing and citations - OSCOLA

In a nutshell

A citation in a footnote is not required when citing legislation if all the information the reader needs about the source is provided in the text, as in the following sentence:

  •  This case highlights the far-reaching judicial role ushered in by the Human Rights Act 1998.

Where the text does not include the name of the Act or the relevant section, this information should be provided in a footnote:

  •  British courts must only consider Strasbourg jurisprudence: they are not bound by it.1 

            1 Human Rights Act 1998, s 2.

Statutes (UK)

Cite an Act by its short title and year in roman, using capitals for the major words, and without a comma before the year:

eg Shipping and Trading Interests (Protection) Act 1995.

The relevant abbreviations for individual sections of legislation are:

· Part/Parts =pt/pts.

· Section/Sections = s/ss.

· Subsection/Subsections = sub-s/sub-ss.

· Paragraph/Paragraphs = para/paras.

· Subparagraph/Subparagraphs = subpara/subparas.

· Schedule/Schedules = sch/schs.

  •  Human Rights Act 1998, s 15(1)(b).

Further information is available on Page 23 of the OSCOLA guide.


Statutory Instruments

When citing a statutory instrument, give the name, year and (after a comma) the SI number. Capitalize all major words.

  •  Penalties for Disorderly Behaviour (Amendment of Minimum Age) Order 2004, SI 2004/3166.

Statutory Instrument specific abbreviations are as follows:

· Regulation/Regulations = reg/regs.

· Rule/Rules = r/rr.

· Article/Articles = art/arts.



Acts of the Scottish Parliament are cited by short title and year. Each Act is also given an ‘asp’ (Act of the Scottish Parliament) running number:

  • Crofting Reform etc Act 2007 (asp 7).

Welsh measures are primary legislation of the Welsh Assembly. They are cited by short title and year, followed by the National Assembly of Wales Measure (nawm or mccc) number in brackets.

  • Learner Travel (Wales) Measure 2008 (nawm 2) OR Mesur Teithio gan Ddysgwyr (Cymru) 2008 (mccc 2).

When citing Acts of the former Parliament of Northern Ireland, put ‘NI’ in brackets between the short title and the year. When citing Acts of the current Northern Ireland Assembly, which was established in 1998, put ‘Northern Ireland’ in brackets between the short title and the year.

  • Poultry Improvement Act (NI) 1968; eg Presumption of Death Act (Northern Ireland) 2009.

Cite sections of all of the above as per UK statutes.


Cite a Bill by its title, the House in which it originated, the Parliamentary session in brackets, and the running number assigned to it. Running numbers for House of Commons Bills are put in square brackets; those for House of Lords Bills are not. When a Bill is reprinted at any stage it is given a new running number, eg

    title | HC Bill | (session) | [number] OR title | HL Bill | (session) | number.

EU legislation

When citing EU treaties and protocols, give the title of the legislation, including amendments if necessary, followed by the year of publication, the OJ series and the issue and page numbers. It should follow the pattern:

legislation title | [year] | OJ series | issue/first page.

Cite Regulations, Directives, Decisions, Recommendations and Opinions by giving the legislation type, number and title, followed by publication details in the OJ.

  •  Council Directive 2002/60/EC of 27 June 2002 laying down specific provisions for the control of African swine fever and amending Directive 92/119/EEC as regards Teschen disease and African swine fever [2002] OJ L192/27.

  •  Council Regulation (EC) 1984/2003 of 8 April 2003 introducing a system for the statistical monitoring of trade in bluefin tuna, swordfish and big eye tuna within the Community [2003] OJ L295/1.

Short forms and pinpoints

Give EU legislation its full name on first citation. In subsequent citations, a short version may be used if you have specified in the first citation. In footnotes, you can give just the document type and number, using 'Reg' or 'Dir' as appropriate in subsequent citations.

Foreign & international legislation

Cite legislation from other jurisdictions as it is cited in its own jurisdiction, but without any full stops in abbreviations. Give the jurisdiction if necessary. Foreign words and phrases should be italicised.

  •  Accident Compensation Act 1972 (NZ).
  •  1976 Standard Terms Act (Gesetz über Allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen) (FRG).
  •  loi n° 75-1349 du 31 décembre 1975 relative à l’emploi de la langue française.

Guides for citations from other jurisdictions can be found in section 4.3 of the appendix.