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OSCOLA referencing guide (Online): The basics

Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg

The OSCOLA referencing style

Oxford University developed OSCOLA (Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities) in 2000 for use within Oxford University. OSCOLA is now the industry standard for referencing legal materials. It is used by many UK  and International law schools as well as by many legal journals and publishers. It is the style approved for use by the College of Law at Swansea University.  OSCOLA is designed to encourage consistency and to help the reader find the necessary information easily and quickly.

OSCOLA does not claim to be comprehensive, but gives rules and examples for the main UK legal primary sources and for many types of secondary sources. As far as possible, the guidelines in OSCOLA are based on common practice in UK legal citation but with a minimum of punctuation.

How does OSCOLA work?

The OSCOLA style is a footnote referencing system. This means it consists of three elements.

  1. Citation  - When you acknowledge a source in the text, you place a footnote marker 1 at the end of the relevant sentence. If you have several references in close together, the number can be placed at the end of the relevant phrase or word. 
  2. Footnote - This is the reference that appears at the bottom of the guide. These should be brief as they should identify the source, not provide additional information.
  3. Bibliography - A list of all the sources you have cited in your work. This should be provided at the end of the essay.

Whenever you paraphrase or quote a source or use the ideas of another person, you need to provide a reference in a footnote.  Your footnotes should be numbered continuously through your document, starting at 1.

You don't always need a footnote for legislation if you have provided sufficient information about the legislation within the text.