Law Teacher | Resources For Your Essays and Dissertations | Oxford Referencing Guide

Oxford Referencing Guide

>Citing books, journals and other materials in the body of your work and in footnotes.

The scheme for citation used in the School of Legal Studies is based on the OXFORD STANDARD CITATION OF LEGAL AUTHORITIES. You can view more information online by clicking here.

The following is a general guide to the Oxford Referencing System.

(A) Citing Books in footnotes:

Simple reference to a book.

The following information should be given:

  • name and initial of the author
  • the title of the book (italicised)
  • the edition number (if it is not the first edition)
  • in brackets, the publisher, place and year of publication
  • finally (not in brackets) the page number of the book to which you are referring.

Punctuation is omitted throughout. Do not use full-stops behind authors' initials. Use the authors initials rather than the full given name(s). Do not use commas to separate the names of authors where there is more than one author. Do not use commas to separate the authors from the title; or the title from the details of publication. Round brackets are used to separate the details of publication from the title and the page reference. Do not insert p before the page number which is being referred to.

Note the following example of some text and the footnote which relates to the text.


"What transactions, and the conditions which precipitate their setting aside, vary according to the particular ground of avoidance, but the common policy is, no matter what the transaction, that creditors in general are protected 'against a diminution of the company's assets which confers an unfair or improper advantage on the other party to the transaction."


RM Goode Principles of Corporate Insolvency Law (Sweet and Maxwell London 1990) 134

Some examples of footnote style for other situations:

(1) A book with more than one volume and more than one edition:

J McLaren Bell 's Commentaries on the Laws of Scotland Vol II ( 7th edition Law Society of Scotland and Butterworths Edinburgh 1990) 1097

This is the 7th edition of Bell's Commentaries on the Laws of Scotland. The pages you are referring to are found in volume 2 of the book. You are referring to page 1097.

(2) Second or later edition of a book:

RM Goode Principles of Corporate Insolvency Law (2nd edition Sweet and Maxwell London 1997) 79 - 101

This is the second edition of Goode's book Principles of Corporate Insolvency Law. The material you are referring to is found in pages 79 to 101 of Goode's book.

(3) A book composed of separate articles or chapters written by different authors:

D Prentice 'The Effect of Insolvency on Pre-Liquidation Transactions' in BG Pettet (ed) Company Law in Change : Current Legal Problems (Stevens London 1987) 70, 74

This is a book which has been edited by BG Petett. The book is called Company Law in Change : Current Legal Problems. It was published by Stevens in London in 1987. The material you are referring to is on pages 70 and 74 of a chapter of the book which was written by D Prentice. The title of the chapter is The Effect of Insolvency on Pre-Liquidation Transactions.

(4) Quotation found in a secondary source:

If you use in your paper a quotation which you found in a publication which you read, you not only should refer to the work in which the words quoted were originally used, you also must indicate the source in which you found the words quoted. For example, the following quotation from a paper written by A. Keay and published in the Sydney Law Review starting on page 55 of the 1996 volume, was used in a book by RM Goode:

"Over the years avoidance provisions have regularly come under the scrutiny of the courts. Yet, there is little evidence of the courts seeking to ascertain the rationale for the existence of these provisions. It is submitted that the existence of such provisions in Australia is not a matter which excites any debate. There has been hardly any consideration of the underlying basis for the provisions; in fact there are few cases or articles in which the reason for the inclusion of avoidance provisions in corporations or bankruptcy legislation has been mentioned."

You have found the quotation while reading Goode and want to use it yourself:


A Keay 'In Pursuit of the Rationale Behind the Avoidance of Pre-Liquidation Transactions' (1996) 18 Sydney Law Review 55 as quoted in RM Goode Principles of Corporate Insolvency Law ( 2nd edition Sweet and Maxwell London 1997) 347.

You are quoting Keay's words, but you indicate to the reader that you found Keay's words when you were reading Goode, not from reading Keay's book itself.

(B) Citing Journals and Periodicals in footnotes:

As with books the author's name, the title of the article (within inverted commas), the year and volume number of the journal in which the article is to be found, the page number on which the article commences, and the page number to which you are referring should be included (separated from the starting page of the article by a comma).. If the journal is likely to be well known to the readers of your paper you may use the normal abbreviation for the journal (as in the example following – JBL for Journal of Business Law), but if the journal is a foreign journal (save for well known ones such as the Harvard Law Review) or a less well-known domestic publication you should set out the name of the journal in full.

IF Fletcher 'The Genesis of Modern Insolvency Law - An Odyssey of Law Reform' [1989] JBL 365, 367

Whether the year of publication is placed in square brackets [ 1990 ] or round brackets ( (1990) ) depends on whether there is a volume number. If, as is the case with the Journal of Business Law (JBL), there are no volume numbers, articles are identified by the year of publication alone, using square brackets. If, however, the journal uses volume numbers, round brackets are used, eg. (1975) 91 LQR 95.

NB Full stops do not need to be used either where author's initials are used or the name of a journal is being abbreviated.

(C) Repeated Reference to the same work in footnotes:

It previously was the case that the Oxford system used latin tags to deal with repeated references to the source. The latest version of the Oxford system bans the use of latin tags such as supra, infra, ante, post, ibid, id, op cit and loc cit. It says that "The convenience of the reader is often better served, at minimal cost, by repetition of the original citation."

Alternatively a source which is used more than once in a chapter can be cited on its second and subsequent uses in that chapter by reference to the title of the book, the footnote where the full citation appears, and the page(s) being referred to in this instance.

1. The first footnote reference to an author and one of her or his works:

RM Goode Principles of Corporate Insolvency Law ( 2nd edn Sweet and Maxwell London 1997) 79

The second and subsequent references to that source:
Principles of Insolvency Law (n 15 above) 12

If you are writing a work which has been divided into chapters you must give the full citation of the source the first time it is referred to in a chapter.

If there are going to be many references to a book in your paper you can say in your first reference to the book that from here on you will refer to it only by some specified abbreviation. Eg.

Ist reference:

J M'Laren Bell's Commentaries on the Laws of Scotland Vol II ( 7th edition Law Society of Scotland and Butterworths Edinburgh 1990) 1097, hereinafter referred to as Bell's Commentaries.

2nd reference

If you are going to use such an abbreviation, you must include a Table of Abbreviations and put it in the Table.

Cases and Statutory Materials

For the avoidance of confusion it is best to use the full citation of a case or statute every time there is a footnoted reference to the case or statute.

Document Control Information Author: School of Legal Studies Contact: Last Revision: Feb 2004 Disclaimer and Copyright statements © University of Wolverhampton

Reproduced (and slightly modified) from: WLV Citing Books