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OSCOLA referencing guide (Online): Books of Authority

Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg

Books of Authority

A small number of older works, such as Blackstone’s Commentaries, are regarded as books of authority, and are therefore generally accepted as reliable statements of the law of their time. These works have evolved commonly known abbreviations and citation forms, which should be used in all footnote references to them. Similarly, there are a small number of ‘institutional works’ which are regarded as formal sources of Scots law. In footnote references, these works should also be referred to by their commonly known abbreviated forms

A list of some of these abbreviations can be found at the bottom of this page.


To use a footnote, put a superscript number into your text and then the footnote at the bottom of the page.


Abbreviation, Page number


3 Bl Comm 264

4 Co Litt 135a 

Scottish Examples:

5 Bankton Institute II, 3, 98

6 Stair Institutions I, 2, 14

Examples of Abbreviations


Blackstone, Commentaries on the Law of England Bl Comm 
Bracton, On the Laws and Customs of England  Bracton
Brooke, La Graunde Abridgement  Brooke Abr
Coke, Commentary upon Littleton  Co Litt
Coke, Institutes of the Laws of England  Co Inst
Fitzherbert, La Graunde Abridgement  Fitz Abr
Fitzherbert, La Novel Natura Brevium  Fitz NB
Glanvill, Treatise on the Laws and Customs of England  Glanvill
Hawkins, A Treatise on the Pleas of the Crown  Hawk PC
Hale, The History of the Pleas of the Crown  Hale PC