Citing and referencing legal sources
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.
There are a number of different referencing styles used at the University. If you need to explore another style, in addition to OSCOLA, take a look at the University Referencing Guide for full information. That identifiers which styles are used within each department.
You’ll see that for most styles the guidance is covered by Cite them right, e.g. APA, Chicago, IEEE, MHRA, MLA, OSCOLA and Vancouver, for some styles such as Oxford, the university has produced it's own guide.
The University subscribes to Cite them right, an online resource designed to help you to reference correctly and avoid plagiarism. Here you’ll find guidance on how to use your referencing style* to cite a broad range of sources from books and journals to social media, software programs, media and arts, reviews and performances, among others.
*The University has produced its own guidance for styles not covered by Cite them right. Visit the Referencing styles page for more information.
Cite them right includes a ‘basics of referencing’ section which is helpful for all students.
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 the journal article.
Use the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) if the source has one – it is preferable to a URL as it never changes; because of this you do not need to include a retrieval date for a reference that has a DOI (but check the rules of the style you are using just to make sure of the conventions of the style).
Use the URL for sources that have no DOI and give the retrieval date (some styles such as APA don’t require a retrieval date, but you are advised to include one for a source that is not in a fixed, non-editable format).
CrossRef.org 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 http://dx.doi.org
Contact Study Zone about a 1-1 appointment, attending a Writing Café or other study skills workshop.
Contact ASK: Academic Skills @ Cornwall.
The ASK team of advisors support student learning at the University of Exeter (Cornwall Campuses). Support includes workshops on writing, referencing and study skills, study guides and 1:1 appointments.
Finding and Using Resources