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OSCOLA for Law

OSCOLA Referencing

Stack of books and open page with pen

This is a brief guide to basics of OSCOLA referencing with a focus on UK cases (law reports).

A list of OSCOLA resources including the official OSCOLA quick guide is available below.


The OSCOLA referencing style is used by the Law department (check your module handbook).

OSCOLA is a footnote style. 

  1.  Insert a superscript number after the full stop of a sentence or after the word or phrase.1
  2. Footnotes are at the bottom of the page for the source cited.
  3.  You may also be asked to produce a bibliography at the end of your work with all the sources you have cited. Check your module handbook to see if you need to include a bibliography.

A step-by-step guide is also available at the bottom of this page.

When to Reference

Every time you use a source you should reference it, whether it is a primary source or a secondary source.

Primary Sources: cases, statutes, EU legislation and cases and European Court of Human Rights decisions.

Secondary Sources: books, encyclopaedias, journal articles, command papers, law commission reports, blogs and newspapers. 

Cases and Bibliographies

Please navigate to the subpages for Case Citations and Bibliography for more details.

OSCOLA Referencing Guidance

Adding a footnote in Word

Adding a footnote in Word

After placing the cursor where you want the footnote to appear:

  1. Select the References tab from the ribbon menu at the top of the Word Document
  2. Select Insent footnote from the submenu.
  3. Add your footnote.

Select the References tab, then the Insert Footnote tab to add a footnote