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Law: Citing and Referencing Legal Sources: Online Support Guide

This guide will assist you to cite legal sources for your assignments and dissertations

   Citing and referencing legal sources

The Law School uses the OSCOLA referencing style


Other styles are used within the University - use the online University Referencing Guide for full information on styles and reference management software.

OSCOLA (The Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities) was developed to facilitate accurate citation of authorities, legislation, and other legal materials. It is widely used in law schools and by journal and book publishers in the UK and beyond. OSCOLA is edited by the Oxford Law Faculty, in consultation with the OSCOLA Editorial Advisory Board.

About Cite Them right

The University subscribes to Cite Them Right, an online resource designed to help you to reference correctly and avoid plagiarism.

You will need to log in to Cite Them Right, using your university email and password. 

Being able to reference well is not just all about formatting your footnotes, references or bibliography in the right way. 

You also need to understand how, why and when to make use of information from others in your work in a way that acknowledges their contributions and avoids plagiarism.  Academic honesty means always giving full credit for any other people's contributions to your own achievements.

The Cite Them Right Basics of Referencing section provides guidance in these key areas. You an explore:

  • Complete the Cite Them Right Tutorial to learn the principles of referencing.

  • The first time you use the tutorial you will need to register with an email address and a password (this does not need to be your university username and password).

  • A verification email will be sent to your chosen email.  Check your spam/junk folder for a message from Bloomsbury Digital Resources with an activation link.  You will need to move the message out of your spam/junk folder in order to activate the link

  • Once you launch the tutorial you can choose OSCOLA in order to tailor the tutorial guidance and questions to this style.Screenshot of front page of Cite Them Right Tutorial

  • After you have finished exploring the various topics, you can choose to take an assessment to test and document your knowledge.
  • You can save your certificate of completion as a record for use in skills portfolios or as evidence within job applications.





When writing at university you will use information from a range of different sources. Your tutors will direct you to some but others you will have to find for yourself. You need to select these sources carefully and acknowledge them in your work by providing in-text citations and a reference list, or in some disciplines, footnotes and a bibliography.

You need to evaluate your sources to assess their reliability, authority and validity before you decide to use them. As a general rule, you should not refer to sources such as book reviews, Wikipedia or lecture notes in your work. Do not use or refer to essays that you have found online as these may come from ‘essay mills’ and are therefore not reliable sources. For further guidance on evaluating sources, take a look at the Evaluating Sources LibGuide Tutorial.

A DOI is a unique alpha numeric string that provides a permanent link to the document’s location online. You can often find the DOI on the title page of online material.

Use the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) if the source has one – it is preferable to a URL as it never changes; is a website that allows you to check whether a source has its own DOI and has a tool for locating a source that does have a DOI. You can turn a DOI into a URL by appending the DOI to 

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