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Referencing and the OSCOLA style


What is OSCOLA?

The Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) is the referencing style used by Cardiff Law School.

OSCOLA aims to enable the clear, consistent and accurate citation of legal materials including cases and legislation. It is widely used by law schools, book and journal publishers in the UK and internationally.

OSCOLA is published by the University of Oxford's Law Faculty and an Editorial Advisory Board. It is updated every 2 to 3 years.

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Why should I cite?

Being able to accurately cite the sources you have used in your work is an important academic skill. Including citations in your work:

  • Provides the relevant legal authority to support your work
  • Enables the reader to find the sources you have used
  • Helps you to avoid plagiarism as you are acknowledging where you have used other people's work or ideas
  • Demonstrates the range of research and variety of sources you used while preparing your work

If you are unsure when you need to cite, try out this online activity to help you.

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Are there any guides available that can help me use OSCOLA?

Citing Legal Documents
Introduction to the OSCOLA style and how to create footnotes in the OSCOLA style in your work. This is a printed guide published by the Law Library at Cardiff University.

Citing the Law
This online tutorial includes activities, guidance and examples of how to create footnotes and compile your bibliography in the OSCOLA style. This tutorial was created by the Law Library at Cardiff University.

OSCOLA Quick Reference Guide (4th Edition)
Official quick guide to help create footnotes in the OSCOLA style from the University of Oxford. It covers a range of publications including cases, legislation, books and websites.

OSCOLA Handbook (4th Edition)
The official handbook from the University of Oxford. It gives detailed, authoritative explanations of what rules should be followed when creating references in a footnote or in a bibliography. The handbook is supplemented by FAQs (including guidance on citing sources not referred to in the handbook) and an international law sources section.

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Using OSCOLA with EndNote

EndNote reference management software, available in desktop and web versions at Cardiff University enables the process of adding footnotes and bibliographic references in the OSCOLA style when you are writing a paper.

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What help is available when using EndNote?

The Library Service have produce PDF guides for EndNote desktop and EndNote Web to go with our answers to the most common EndNote Desktop FAQs and EndNote Web FAQs at Cardiff University.  

There is lots of useful material about EndNote on the web, for example check out the Thomson Reuters EndNote Training channel on YouTube which includes videos on both EndNote desktop and EndNote Web. The company also have their own Knowledge Base and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

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What help is available when using OSCOLA with EndNote?

The OSCOLA for EndNote guide, produced by the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford, provides guidance on what EndNote reference fields text should be added in order to produce OSCOLA compliant footnotes and bibliography references in Word.

The Law Library has produced guides which provide help when using OSCOLA with Endnote Desktop and OSCOLA with EndNote Web, which include guidance on inserting and amending footnote markers, footnotes and bibliographic references in the OSCOLA style when using EndNote.