Citing of Legal Materials (Including Legal Tables)


- UK cases

- Which reports to cite

- Unreported cases

- Court of decision

- Style in legal citations

- European cases

- Which reports to cite

- Unreported cases

- Case numbers

- Commission decisions

- European human rights cases

- American, Commonwealth, and other foreign domestic cases

- Legislation

- Primary legislation

- Secondary legislation

- European legislation

- The Uniform Commercial Code

- International treaties

- European treaties

- The Treaty of Lisbon

- Other treaties

- Other legal materials

- Rules of court

- Reports of select committees of the houses of Lords, Commons, and so on

- Hansard

- Command papers

- Law Commission

- Legal Tables

The guidance given here is based upon the Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA). Please consult the full OSCOLA document if these notes do not cover your needs. If you are still in doubt, contact your OUP Editor for help.

This section provides guidance on the citation of:

  • UK cases;
  • European cases;
  • American, Commonwealth, and other foreign domestic cases; and
  • arbitral decisions.

This includes which reports to cite and the style in which they should be cited, with examples given throughout.

As a general rule, for all citations you should cite instruments, and provisions of instruments, separately, rather than grouping them together or using ranges. For example, instead of referring to the Criminal Justice Acts 1988–93, you should refer to the Criminal Justice Act 1988, the Criminal Justice Act 1991, and the Criminal Justice Act 1993. Similarly, you should refer to provisions separately, not as a range—for example, sections 2,3, and 4 of the Act, rather than sections 2–4 of the Act.

UK cases

Blay v Pollard [1930] 1 AC 628, HL
Re Bourne [1978] 2 Ch 43
Cooper v McKenna, ex p Bishop [1986] WLR 327, CA
New Zealand Shipping Co Ltd v Satterthwaite (AM) & Co Ltd (The Eurymedon) [1975] AC 154

Which reports to cite

Use a single ‘best’ reference for each case cited using the order of precedence. For UK domestic cases, this order is as set out in the relevant practice notes on citation available from BAILII:

  1. Official Law Reports;
  2. Weekly Law Reports;
  3. All England Law Reports.

In certain specialist areas it will be necessary to refer to the relevant specialist series—for example, Family Law Reports, Industrial Cases Reports, and Reports on Patent Cases. If you wish to refer to a specialist series rather than the main citation source for cases, please consult your OUP Editor.

For pre-1860 cases, cite both the nominate reports and the English Reports where possible.

Boulton v Jones (1857) 2 H&N 564, 157 ER 232

Cite a report in The Times newspaper only if there is no other published report.

Powick v Malvern Wells Water Co, The Times, 28 September 1993

Unreported cases

When a UK case has not (yet) been reported, follow the conventions for neutral citations as stated by OSCOLA.

If a case has no neutral citation, give the name of the court and the date of the judgment; do not use the word ‘unreported’.

R v Marianishi, ex p London Borough of Camden (CA, 13 April 1965)

Tip! Note that unreported European cases are handled differently; see below.

Court of decision

The court of decision should be indicated by initials (for example, ECJ, PC, HL, CA) at the end of the reference, in parentheses, unless the case was heard in the High Court or was reported in a series that covers the decisions of only one court.

In citing unreported cases, name the court of decision (even if it is an inferior court) before the date, in parentheses.

Bowman v Fussy [1978] RPC 545 (HL)
Berk v Hair (DC, 12 September 1956)

No reference is needed to the deciding judge (‘per Ferris J’, and so on) unless there was more than one judge (for example, in the Court of Appeal or House of Lords) and you wish to make clear which judge you are quoting.

Style in legal citations

OUP’s legal house style is shown in the examples throughout this section. Some specific guidance is provided below.

  • For the case name, use the given name from the law report.
  • Do not use full points in abbreviated forms.

use v, ex, p (not v., ex., p.) and WLR (not W.L.R. for the Weekly Law Reports)

  • Do not use letters printed in the margin of some series of reports (A, B, and so on); reference to the relevant page(s) is sufficient.
  • Use Re in preference to In re or similar forms, such as In the matter of.
  • Do not use and another and similar wordings.
  • However, use and anor or and ors as relevant to avoid the appearance of error: Re P and ors (minors).
  • Abbreviate ex parte to ex p (or Ex p at the beginning of a case name).
  • Use square brackets round a year that identifies a volume in a series of law reports; use parentheses in other circumstances.

Blair v Osborne [1971] 2 QB 78

Badische v Soda-Fabrics (1897) 14 RPC 919, HL

  • Citations of official Scots reports use neither brackets nor punctuation; see specific examples:

ο Cases from the Scottish series of Session Cases from 1907:
Hughes v Stewart 1907 SC 791

ο Justiciary Cases from 1917 onwards (using simply the name of the panel or the accused):
Corcoran v HM Advocate 1932 JC 42

  • Where the court hearing the case needs to be identified because it is not obvious from the core citation, the name should follow a comma at the end of the citation.

For the abbreviations used for series of law reports see Lists of Abbreviations for Legal Materials

Tip! If this list of abbreviations does not include a series you wish to refer to, spell it out in full.
If you need to refer to this series frequently, abbreviate it and include it in a list of abbreviations in the prelims of your book (see Components of Your Manuscript).

Certain words commonly appearing in the names of law reports may be freely abbreviated, even when the name of a series is spelt out (see Lists of Abbreviations for Legal Materials).

Lists of Abbreviations for Legal Materials shows the abbreviations used for legal journals.

Tip! If this list does not include a journal you wish to refer to, spell it out in full. If you need to refer to this journal frequently, abbreviate it and include it in a list of abbreviations in the prelims of your book (see Components of Your Manuscript).

To avoid undue repetition, case citations in the text may be shortened at second and subsequent mentions.
‘in Glebe Motors plc v Dixon-Greene’ may afterwards be shortened to ‘in the Glebe Motors case’ (though not ‘in Glebe Motors’).

In criminal cases it is acceptable to abbreviate ‘in R v Caldwell’ to ‘in Caldwell’.

In shipping cases the name of the ship may be used instead of the full case name (for example, The Eurymedon), though the full case name should always be provided as a footnote.

Short citations

When a work is cited for the first time in a chapter, the bibliographic information can be given in full (for an alternative, see section on numbered notes in combination with a bibliography). Subsequent citations should be shortened as in the examples in this section.

Do not use ‘ibid.’ to stand in for a previous citation. Although a useful abbreviation in print, ‘ibid.’ limits effective linking of references in a digital context. For example, since there is no author name in ‘ibid.’, it is impossible to create a link in that reference to other works by that author. ‘Ibid.’ as traditionally used gains its meaning from its position relative to other references on the printed page: this relationship is impossible to maintain in an unpaginated environment.

To create a short citation, use a short version of the citation that consists of the author’s last name, a shortened version of the title, and a page number, if applicable. For example:

1. See, for example, Alan Hess, Googie: Fifties Coffee Shop Architecture (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1985) and Noah Sheldon, Ranch House (New York: Harry S. Abrams, 2004).

2. Sheldon, Ranch House, p. 207 (n 1).

3. Ashraf Salama, ‘Evolutionary Paradigms in Mosque Architecture’, Faith & Form 40, no. 1 (2007): pp. 16–17.

4. Salama, ‘Evolutionary Paradigms in Mosque Architecture’ (n 3).

5. Hess, Googie, p. 21 (n 1).

6. Wikimedia privacy policy, Wikimedia Foundation, accessed 26 November 2010, Privacy_policy.

7. Wikimedia privacy policy, paragraph 16 (n 6).

European cases

Which reports to cite

For a European case you should always include the case number; and the ‘best’ reference (in order of preference) is:

  • the European Court Reports (ECR);
  • the Common Market Law Reports (CMLR).

Where a case is reported by the British Official Law Reports, Weekly Law Reports, or All England Law Reports, any of these may be cited in preference to CMLR, particularly in books for readers who may not have ready access to CMLR.

The names of the parties should be set out as they appear in the headnote to the reported case.

Case 19/84 Pharmon BV v Hoechst AG [1985] ECR 2281

Unreported cases

If a European case is not yet reported, it should be cited with a reference to the relevant notice in the Official Journal.
Case C–134/89 EC Commission v Ireland [1989] OJ L145/1

Case numbers

As shown in the previous examples, the case numbers of European Court decisions appear at the head of the citation (no comma separates the case number from the names of the parties).

Tip! Since the creation of the European Court of First Instance (CFI) in 1989, case numbers have been prefixed according to whether they are registered there or at the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Tip! Case numbers for the CFI are prefixed by T–, and those for the ECJ are prefixed C–. (These prefixes should not be applied retrospectively to ECJ cases predating 1989).

Tip! Since 1 December 2009 The European Court of Justice is renamed ‘Court of Justice’ and the Court of First Instance is renamed ‘General Court’. Collectively they are named ‘The Court of Justice of the European Union’.

The European Court Reports are divided into two volumes, C cases being reported in ECR I and T cases in ECR II. Volume and page numbers in the ECR are (unusually) linked by a dash. Cases pre-1989 will be unlikely to have volume numbers.
Case C–34/89 P Smith v EC Commission [1993] ECR I–454
Case T–65/33 Christy v Mulliner [1994] ECR II–323

No reference to the court of decision is needed at the ends of these citations, as the case numbers and ECR references clearly signal the relevant court. When citing other series of reports, however, the addition of ‘ECJ’ or ‘CFI’ at the end of the citation is appropriate.

Tip! Remember, cases from before 1989 are unlikely to have volume numbers.

Commission decisions

Commission decisions (but not Council decisions—see the section on European legislation below) are to be treated as cases.

Aluminium Cartel [1985] OJ L92/1, [1987] 4 CMLR 778

Moosehead/Whitbread [1990] OJ L100/32, [1991] 4 CMLR 391

Decisions of the Commission’s Merger Task-Force should cite, in addition, the official number given to it by Directorate General IV.
Alcatel/Telettra (Case IV/M042) [1991] OJ L122/48, [1991] 4 CMLR 208

European human rights cases

When citing decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, provide the relevant reference in the official reports (Series A) and, if possible, also that from the European Human Rights Reports.

Young, James and Webster v UK Series A No 44, (1982) 4 EHRR 38

When citing decisions and reports of the European Commission of Human Rights provide:

  • the relevant application number;
  • a reference to the Decisions and Reports of the Commission series (or in earlier years to the Yearbook of the ECHR);
  • if available, a reference to the European Human Rights Report.

Zamir v UK Application 9174/80, (1985) 40 DR 42

Tip! If compiling Tables of Cases for Prelims, remember to follow OSCOLA Guidance on EU cases, which should be arranged alphabetically by first party name.

American, Commonwealth, and other foreign domestic cases

The American style of citation requires a reference to the relevant official US reports (for Supreme Court cases) or state reports, followed by a reference to the National Reporter System.

For cases from the lower Federal court, a reference to the Federal reporter (F) or Federal supplement (F Supp) suffices. A comma separates the two references. The court (unless it is the Supreme Court) and year are given at the end of the citation.

Bill v Benn 9 Ill 2d 435, 134 NE 2d 756 (Ill Ct of Apps, 1957) [a state case]
Michael v Johnson 426 US 346, 23 S Ct 118 (1976) [a Supreme Court case]
Bones v Bonar 550 F 2d 35 (US Ct of Apps (2nd Cir), 1978) [a lower Federal court case]

For Australian cases from the higher courts, the ‘best’ references are (in order of preference):

  • the Commonwealth Law Reports (CLR);
  • the Australian Law Journal Reports (ALJR);
  • the Australian Law Reports (ALR).

For state cases cite the relevant State Reports.

For New Zealand cases, cite the New Zealand Law Reports (NZLR).

For Canadian cases, provide two references if possible:

  • the Supreme Court Reports (SCR) first;
  • then the Dominion Law Reports (DLR).

For state provincial cases, cite DLR alone.

For all foreign cases use the following form:
Official case name (if any), Parties, Procedural stage, Official case number/and or report, Date.

Ariel Incident of 10 August 1999, Pakistan v India, Judgement on jurisdiction, ICJ Rep 2000 p 12, 21 June 2000

If the country or state and the court of decision are not apparent from the report series cited, indicate these at the end of the reference in parentheses.


Lists of Abbreviations for Legal Materials lists abbreviations for primary and secondary legislation to be used in footnotes, except at the beginning of a sentence (where the word is spelt out).

Primary legislation

When referring to modern statutes, use the short title only; no comma is needed between the name and the date. the Children Act 1995.

Paragraph (k) of sub-section (4) of section 14 of the Lunacy Act 1934 would be cited as Lunacy Act 1934, s 14(4)(k)

Tip! It is more convenient to refer to ‘section 14(4)’ than ‘sub-section (4)’ or ‘paragraph (k)’, but if the longer forms are used they may be abbreviated to ‘sub-s (4)’ and ‘para (k)’ in footnotes.

Secondary legislation

Statutory instruments are referred to by name, date, and serial number.
Local Authority Precepts Order 1897, SR & O 1897/208
Community Charge Support Grant (Abolition) Order 1987, SI 1987/466
No references to subsidiary numbers are needed in Scots or local instruments, or those making commencement provisions.

European legislation

References to European legislation (Regulations, Directives, and Decisions) and to other instruments (Recommendations, Opinions, and so on) should cite the texts in the Official Journal of the European Communities. The citation will differ depending on the year of publication.


Year Example
post-1972 [1989] OJ L145/1
ie [year] OJ series OJ number/page
1952–1972 [1964] OJ Spec Ed 234
1968–1972 [1968] JO L332/23
1952–1967 JO 1312/34

Wherever possible, references relating to the years 1952–72 (when there was no English edition of the Journal Officiel) should be to the Special Edition of the Official Journal (produced after the United Kingdom had joined the European Communities).
Council Directive (EC) 97/1 on banking practice [1997] OJ L234/3
Council Regulation (EEC) 1017/68 applying rules of competition to transport [1968] OJ Spec Ed 302
In the main text, descriptors should be spelt out in full, but in footnotes they should be abbreviated. In references to European legislation, they are capitalized.


Article Art
Directive Dir
Regulation Reg

Council Regulation (EEC) 1017/68 applying rules of competition to transport [1968] OJ Spec Ed 302 [full title used on first appearance]
Council Reg 1017/68, Art 3 [abbreviated version in footnotes]

In the text of any one chapter, the full title of an item of legislation should be given at the first mention, but thereafter an abbreviated form may be used.
Commission Notice on agreements of minor importance which do not fall under Article 85(1) of the Treaty establishing the EEC [1986] OJ C231/2, as amended [1994] OJ C368/20
Commission Notice on agreements of minor importance [1986] OJ C231/2, as amended [1994] OJ C368/20

The Uniform Commercial Code

References to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) should be made as:
UCC § 2–123 Third Party Beneficiaries of Warranties Express or Implied

International treaties

European treaties

The first reference in a work to a European treaty should include both the formal and informal names.

  • European Treaty (Treaty of Rome, as amended), Article 3b;
  • Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty), Article G5.

Thereafter the informal name may be used. Note that the full formal name of the treaty is not needed.

References to the articles of treaties should not include the titles, chapters, or sections thereof. In the main text, ‘Article’ should be spelt out in full, but in footnotes should be abbreviated to ‘Art’ (and note that it is capitalized in both cases).

References to the protocols of treaties should include their names if any.
Act of Accession 1985 (Spain and Portugal), Protocol 34.
European Treaty, Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice

Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the European Human Rights Convention) (Rome, 4 November 1950; TS 71 (1953); Cmd 8969)

The Treaty of Lisbon

The Treaty of Lisbon came into effect on 1 December 2009 and the EC Treaty was renamed the ‘Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)’. Changes brought about by this include the renumbering of the provisions. A full table of equivalences can be found here.

When citing Treaty Articles historically, use the numbering in place at the time, followed by the amendment in parentheses.

Article 81 EC (now Article 101 TFEU)

Article 101 TFEU (ex Article 81 EC)

Other treaties

Save for treaties of the EC, at the first mention in any chapter the full formal name of a treaty or convention should be set out, with the following information in parentheses:

  • the familiar name of the treaty or convention;
  • the place and date of signature;
  • the Treaty Series number; or, if not ratified, the Miscellaneous Series number; or, if it pre-dates the Treaty Series, other relevant number;
  • where appropriate, the number of the latest Command Paper in which the treaty or convention was issued;
  • information as to any relevant protocols.

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (the Vienna Convention) (Vienna, 23 May 1969, 1155 UNTS 331)
For subsequent references in the same chapter, the familiar name would suffice.

Tip! When discussing provisions of an instrument such as the EC Treaty, or the ECHR, where two or more separate provisions have the same number, always include the Instrument abbreviation.
Article 2 EC rather than Article 2
Article 2 of Reg 1/2003 rather than just Article 2

Tip! Similarly, where two or more references have the same familiar name, these need to differentiated—that is, do not abbreviate both ‘Horizontal Guidelines’ and ‘Vertical Guidelines’ to ‘Guidelines’

Other legal materials

Rules of court

The Civil Procedure Rules and the associated Practice Directions should be cited using CPR and PD acronyms and as per the examples given.

CPR Pt 29
CPR, r 25.1(1)(g)
Practice Direction Supplementing CPR Pt 29 (Interim Injunctions), para 6.2
PD 29, para 6.2

The Rules of the Supreme Court and the County Court Rules that remain in force should be cited as per the examples given.
RSC Ord 115, r 26(1)
CCR Ord 33, r 6(1)

The Pre-Action Protocols should be cited as per the examples given.
Pre-Action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes, para 1.7

Historic versions of the Rules, including all provisions no longer in force, may be cited similarly, but with the relevant year added.
RSC 1883, Ord 7, r 5
The Criminal Procedure Rules may similarly be cited as follows.
CrimPR, r 3.2

Other court rules must be cited in full as statutory instruments.

Reports of select committees of the houses of Lords, Commons, and so on

Papers of parliamentary select committees should be referred to by name and number.
HL Select Committee on the shocking state of elementary education 35th Report (HL Paper (1998–99) no 12)


Since 1909 reports of proceedings in the two houses of parliament have been separately published in volumes that are differentiated by the abbreviations HC for the Commons and HL for the Lords, and these should be used to cite reports of parliamentary debates.
Hansard, HC (series 5) vol 357, cols 234–245 (13 April 1965)
NB. For pre-1909 citations, the following form should be used.
Parl Debs (series 4) vol 24, col 234 (24 March 1895)

Command papers

References to the numbers of Command papers are given in parentheses and styled according to the year of publication.


Year Example
1833–1869 (C (1st series) 28)
1870–1899 (C (2nd series) 23)
1900–1918 (Cd 45)
1919–1956 (Cmd 12)
1957–1986 (Cmnd 356)
1986 to date (Cm 69)

United Kingdom The Attack on Inflation: The Second Year (Cmnd 6507, 1974) 4

Law Commission

Law Commission reports should be cited by name and Commission number, with the year of publication and any Command paper number also noted.
Law Commission, Family Law: The Ground for Divorce (Law Com No 192, 1990) para 7.41

Legal Tables

Please check with your OUP Editor who will be responsible for the creation of the legal tables for your title.

Tables of cases, legislation, and other legal material allow navigation by the reader looking for specific discussion of pertinent cases or legal instruments. The following gives brief guidance on how you should organize and present your tables.

  • Although you may prepare your tables in advance, you will need to update with page/paragraph numbers at first proofs. Your OUP Editor will confirm whether your title should be tabled to either paragraph or page numbers.
  • If you are tabling to paragraph numbers, these should not be elided, eg 3.25-3.26.
  • If you are tabling to page number, these should be elided, eg 25-6.
  • As per the main text, abbreviations should not contain full points.
  • Case names should not be italicized in the tables of cases, legislation etc, but should be italicized in the rest of the book.
  • Line spaces should be inserted between alphabetical sections, unless the table is short.

Tables of cases

Depending on the number of cases and statutes you should divide tables into separate sections for each jurisdiction:

  • the UK;
  • the EU (European Union) - distinguishing between ECJ (European Court of Justice), CFI (Court of First Instance), and Commission cases;
  • the rest of the world.

Tip! Since 1 December 2009 The European Court of Justice is renamed ‘Court of Justice’ and the Court of First Instance is renamed ‘General Court’. Collectively they are named ‘The Court of Justice of the European Union’.

Where there are enough cases or statutes to merit it, tables may be subdivided by headings for each country. Check with your OUP Editor if you’re not sure whether this is suitable for your title.

Tables of cases should be ordered alphabetically according to the ‘best’ reference cited in the text (as opposed to the neutral citation). The ‘best’ reference should be the official Law Report or citation. For each case, the ‘best’ reference is followed by all major report citations as given in the official law reports for that jurisdiction. Abbreviated or summary law reports should not be included, unless they are the only reports available.

Shipping and trade-mark cases should be tabled under the full case name, with a cross-reference from the name of the ship or the mark. Cases beginning ‘In re . . .’ or ‘Re . . .’ should be tabled under the substantive part of the name.

‘Farquar's Estate, Re’.

Two separate tables of European cases, one arranged in chronological and one in numerical order, should be provided in a book with a significant number of such cases. Check with your OUP Editor if you are not sure whether this is suitable for your title.

Tables of instruments/legislation

You should provide separate tables for:

  • Primary UK Legislation
  • Secondary UK Legislation
  • Other Legislation
  • European Directives
  • European Regulations
  • International Instruments

Tables of instruments should be ordered as follows:

  • For domestic instruments, organize alphabetically by instrument name.
  • For international instruments, organize alphabetically or, where it is ineffectual to do this (for example, where you are citing a list of Treaties all called ‘Treaty #’), in reverse chronological order.

If a piece of legislation only needs one reference to a specific part, it should be kept on one line.

Important New Act 2000, s 56(1)


Important New Act, 2000

S 56(1)

You do not need to repeat parts and chapters, instead they should be indented.

Pt I

Ch 2

Art 5(1)

Art 5(2)

For international instruments (where formal and informal names are interchangeable) the full title must always be given but can be followed with the informal title in brackets (commonly referred to as ‘xxx’). If you are concerned that an instrument is commonly referred to by another name, the short form can be added as an entry and cross-referenced to the full title.

Other legal materials

If you wish to include tables of other legal materials such as press releases or law commission reports, you should include these in a single table if there are less than fifteen entries in total. If you wish to table more entries than this, you should split into separate tables organized by type.

Other legal materials entries should be organized by type and then either alphabetically or reverse chronologically depending on what is most suitable.