Referencing Your Law Dissertation

Each university has a different referencing system and indeed, the referencing requirements for each course may vary still, so you need to check your individual course guidelines carefully.

The Harvard system is by far the most common referencing system used on law courses.

The Harvard Referencing System - a guide

Citations within the text.


If the quote is less than a line it may be included in the body of the text in quotation marks. Longer quotations are indented and single-spaced - quotation marks are not required. For citations of particular parts of the document the page numbers etc. should be given after the year in parentheses.

For summaries or paraphrases give the citation where it occurs naturally or at the end of the relevant piece of writing. Diagrams and illustrations should be referenced as though they were a quotation if they have been taken from a published work. If details of particular parts of a document are required, e.g. page numbers, they should be given after the year within the parentheses.

Rules for citation in text for printed documents also apply to electronic documents except where page numbering is absent. If an electronic document does not include page numbering or an equivalent internal referencing system, the extent of the item may be indicated in terms such as the total number of lines, screens, etc., e.g. "[35 lines]" or "[approx. 12 screens]".

Quotations Examples

  1. Where the author's name is quoted as part of the sentence, the year is given in parentheses.
    • e.g. In a popular study Harvey (1992) argued that we have to teach good practices
    • e.g. As Harvey (1992, p.21) said, good practices must be taught and so
  2. If the name is not quoted as part of the sentence, both name and year are given in parentheses:
    • e.g. A more recent study (Stevens 1998) has shown the way theory and practical work interact.
    • e.g. Theory rises out of practice, and once validated, returns to direct or explain the practice (Stevens 1998).
  3. When an author has published more than one cited document in the same year, these are distinguished by adding lower case letters (a,b,c, etc.) after the year and within the parentheses:
    • e.g. Johnson (1994a) discussed the subject
  4. If there are two authors the surnames of both should be given:-
    • e.g. Matthews and Jones (1997) have proposed that
  5. If there are more than two authors the surname of the first author only should be given, followed by et al.:
    • Office costs amount to 20% of total costs in most business (Wilson et al. 1997)
    • (A full listing of names should appear in the bibliography)
  6. If the work is anonymous then Anon should be used:-
    • In a recent article (Anon 1998) it was stated that
  7. If it is a reference to a newspaper article with no author the name of the paper can be used in place of Anon:- e.g. More people than ever seem to be using retail home delivery (The Times 1996)(Use the same style in the bibliography)
  8. If you refer to a source quoted in another source you cite both in the text: e.g. A study by Smith (1960 cited Jones 1994) showed that (List only the work you have read, i.e. Jones, in the bibliography.)
  9. If you refer to a contributor in a source you cite just the contributor:- e.g. Software development has been given as the cornerstone in this industry (Bantz 1995).
  10. If you refer to a person who has not produced a work, or contributed to one, but who is quoted in someone else's work it is suggested that you should mention the person's name and you must cite the source author:-
    • e.g. Richard Hammond stressed the part psychology plays in advertising in an interview with Marshall (1999).
    • e.g. Advertising will always play on peoples' desires, Richard Hammond said in a recent article (Marshall 1999, p.67) (Also list the work that has been published, i.e. Marshall, in the bibliography)
  11. Personal communications do not provide recoverable data and so are not included in the reference list. Cite personal communications in the text only. Give initials as well as the surname of the communicator and provide as exact a date as possible. e.g. Many designers do not understand the needs of disabled people according to J. O. Reiss (personal communication, April 18, 1997).
  12. Bibliography

    At the end of a piece of work list references to documents cited in the text. This list may be called a Bibliography or References. You may be required to list references not cited in the text but which make an important contribution to your work. These are usually listed under the heading of Further Reading.

    In the Harvard System, the references are listed in alphabetical order of author's names. If you have cited more than one item by a specific author they should be listed chronologically (earliest first), and by letter (1993a, 1993b) if more than one item has been published during a specific year.

    Whenever possible, elements of a bibliographical reference should be taken from the title page of the publication. For place of publication give the city. If more than one town/city is listed give the first one or the location of the publishers head office. If the town/city is not well known, you may in addition add a county, region or state.

    Always retain the words Books or Press. Where the publisher is a university and the place or location is included in the name of the university, do not repeat the place of publication.

    Each reference should use the elements and punctuation given in the following examples for the different types of published work you may have cited. Underlining is an acceptable alternative to italics when bibliographies are hand written.

    Reference to a book


    Year of publication


    Edition (if not the first)

    Place of publication and Publisher.

    e.g. MERCER, P.A. AND SMITH, G., (1993) Private view data in the UK, 2nd ed, London, Longman.

    Reference to a contribution in a book

    Contributing author's SURNAME, INITIALS., Year of publication, Title of contribution, Followed by In: INITIALS. SURNAME, of author or editor of publication followed by ed. or eds. if relevant, Title of book, Place of publication, Publisher, Page number(s) of contribution.

    e.g. BANTZ, C.R., 1995. Social dimensions of software development. In: J.A. ANDERSON, ed. Annual review of software management and development. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 502-510.

    Reference to an article in a journal

    Author's SURNAME, INITIALS., Year of publication. Title of article. Title of journal, Volume number and (part number), Page numbers of contribution.

    e.g. EVANS, W.A., 1994. Approaches to intelligent information retrieval. Information processing and management, 7 (2), 147-168.

    Reference to a newspaper article

    Author's SURNAME, INITIALS., (or NEWSPAPER TITLE,) Year of publication. Title of article. Title of newspaper, Day and month, Page number/s and column number.

    e.g INDEPENDENT, 1992. Picking up the bills. Independent, 4 June, p.28a.

    Reference to a map

    Originator's SURNAME, first name or initials, (may be cartographer, surveyor, compiler, editor, copier, maker, engraver, etc.) year of publication. Title, Scale. (should be given normally as a ratio) Place of publication: Publisher.

    e.g. MASON, James, 1832. Map of the countries lying between Spain and India, 1:8,000,000. London: Ordnance Survey.

    Reference to a conference paper

    Contributing author's SURNAME, INITIALS., Year of publication. Title of contribution. Followed by In: INITIALS. SURNAME, of editor of proceedings (if applicable) followed by ed. Title of conference proceedings including date and place of conference. Place of publication: Publisher, Page numbers of contribution.

    e.g. SILVER, K., 1991. Electronic mail: the new way to communicate. In: D.I. RAITT, ed. 9th international online information meeting, 3-5 December 1990 London. Oxford: Learned Information, 323-330.

    Reference to a publication from a corporate body (e.g. a government department or other organisation)

    NAME OF ISSUING BODY, Year of publication. Title of publication. Place of publication: Publisher, Report Number (where relevant). e.g. UNESCO, 1993. General information programme and UNISIST. Paris: Unesco, (PGI-93/WS/22).

    Reference to a thesis

    Author's SURNAME, INITIALS., Year of publication. Title of thesis. Designation, (and type). Name of institution to which submitted. e.g. AGUTTER, A.J., 1995. The linguistic significance of current British slang. Thesis (PhD). Edinburgh University.

    Reference to a patent

    ORIGINATOR, (name of applicant) Year of publication. Title of patent. Series designation which may include full date. e.g. PHILIP MORRIS INC., 1981. Optical perforating apparatus and system. European patent application 0021165 A1. 1981-01-07.

    Reference to a video, film or broadcast

    Title, Year. (For films the preferred date is the year of release in the country of production.) Material designation. Subsidiary originator. (Optional but director is preferred, SURNAME in capitals) Production details place: organisation.

    e.g. Macbeth, 1948. Film. Directed by Orson WELLES. USA: Republic Pictures.

    e.g. Birds in the Garden, 1998. Video. London: Harper Videos.

    Programmes and series

    The number and title of the episode should normally be given, as well as the series title, the transmitting organisation and channel, the full date and time of transmission.

    e.g. Yes, Prime Minster, Episode 1, The Ministerial Broadcast, 1986. TV, BBC2. 1986 Jan 16.

    e.g. News at Ten, 2001. Jan 27. 2200 hrs.

    Contributions: individual items within a programme should be cited as contributors.

    e.g. BLAIR, Tony, 1997. Interview. In: Six O'clock News. TV, BBC1. 1997 Feb 29. 1823 hrs.

    Electronic Material

    The British Standard BS 5605:1990 does not include recommendations for electronic sources. The recommendations in this document follow best practice in referencing electronic resources and where possible follow the guidance of the British Standard.

    Reference to web pages/sites and e-books

    Author's / Editor's SURNAME, INITIALS., Year. Title [online]. (Edition). Place of publication, Publisher (if ascertainable). Available from: URL [Accessed Date].

    e.g. HOLLAND, M., 2004. Guide to citing Internet sources [online]. Poole, Bournemouth University. Available from: [Accessed 4 November 2004].

    Reference to e-journals

    Author's SURNAME, INITIALS., Year. Title. Journal Title [online], volume (issue), location within host. Available from: URL [Accessed Date]. e.g. KORB, K.B., 1995. Persons and things: book review of Bringsjord on Robot-Consciousness. Psycoloquy [online], 6 (15). Available from: [Accessed 20 May 2004].

    Reference to mailbase/listserv e-mail lists

    Author's SURNAME, INITIALS., Day Month Year. Subject of message. Discussion List [online] Available from: list e-mail address [Accessed Date].

    e.g. BRACK, E.V., 2 May 2004. Re: Computing short courses. Lis-link [online]. Available from: [Accessed 17 Jun 2004].

    e.g. JENSEN, L.R., 12 Dec 1999. Recommendation of student radio/tv in English. IASTAR [online]. Available from: LISTSERV@FTP.NRG.DTU.DK [Accessed 29 Apr 2004].

    It should be noted that items may only be kept on discussion group servers for a short time and hence may not be suitable for referencing. A local copy could be kept by the author who is giving the citation, with a note to this effect.

    Reference to personal electronic communications (e-mail)

    Sender's SURNAME, INITIALS. (Sender's e-mail address), Day Month Year. Subject of Message. e-Mail to Recipient's INITIALS. SURNAME (Recipient's email address).

    e.g. LOWMAN, D. (, 4 Apr 2000. RE: ProCite and internet Refere. e-Mail to P. CROSS (

    Reference to CD ROMs and DVDs

    This section refers to CD-ROMs which are works in their own right and not bibliographic databases.

    Author's SURNAME, INITIALS., Year. Title [type of medium CD-ROM]. (Edition). Place of publication, Publisher (if ascertainable). Available from: Supplier/Database identifier or number (optional) [Accessed Date] (optional).

    e.g. HAWKING, S.W., 1994. A brief history of time: an interactive adventure. [CDROM]. Crunch Media

    Citing Unpublished Material:

    See BS 6371:1983. Citation of unpublished documents. B.S.I. (Talbot Campus Library & Learning Centre and Bournemouth House Library 028.7 BRI).

    Remember that you must acknowledge your source very time you refer to someone else's work.

    Failure to do so amounts to plagiarism, which is against University rules and is a serious offence. (This referencing guide is based on material on the Bournemouth University Website)

    HOLLAND, M., 2004. Guide to citing Internet sources [online]. Poole, Bournemouth University. Available from: [Accessed 3 February 2006]