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Referencing: OSCOLA Style

The Oxford Standard for Citation Of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA)  is a specific style of referencing, developed by the Oxford University Law Faculty for the referencing of legal materials.  OSCOLA referencing uses numeric references embedded within the text, which are linked to footnotes that contain the full details of the cited source. This guide provides students with a brief introduction to OSCOLA, with examples of the most commonly used source-types provided on the following pages. For further details and examples, students should refer to the official OSCOLA guide, available online at:

All Law  students within Dublin Business School are required to use the OSCOLA referencing format in their assignments. 

Print version of this guide.

How to create a Footnote: (in Microsoft Word 2007/2010/2013/2016)

  • When you have reached a point in your text when you want to insert a numeric reference, go to the References tab and click Insert Footnote.
  • Word inserts the note number and then allows you to type the full reference in the corresponding footnote at the bottom of the page.

Format of book reference (for both footnote and reference list):
Author, Title in Italics (series title, edition publisher, place date) page. 

Type Example
Book - Single Author

Body of text: ...significant influence on the development of legislation in this area.⁵⁹

Footnote: ⁵⁹ PA McDermott, Contract law (Butterworth Ireland, Dublin 2001) 251.

Book - Two or Three Authors

⁶⁶ Eric Barendt and Leslie Hitchens, Media law: cases and materials (Longman Law Series, Longman, Harlow 2000).

Note: Longman Law Series = Series Title

Book - Four or More Authors 

⁴⁰  Roy Goode and others, Transnational commercial law: international instruments and commentary (OUP, Oxford 2004).

Book - Editor 

⁵⁰  A Kerr (ed), Employment equality legislation (Round Hall Annotated Legislation, Round Hall, Dublin, 2001).

Note: If the book is a translation use ‘(tr)’ for translator in place of ‘(ed)’ for editor.

Book - Chapter in an Edited Book 

⁷⁴ D Cahill, ‘European law, litigation and the ECJ’ in TP Kennedy (ed), European law (4th edn Oxford University Press, Oxford 2008).

Repeating Citations – ‘Ibid’

  • If you have cited the same source consecutively, rather than repeating the same footnote one after another you can use ‘Ibid’, which is an abbreviation of ‘ibidem’ and means ‘in the same place’.
  • ‘Ibid’, on its own, can be used to repeat a citation in the immediately previous note.
  • ‘Ibid 345’ means ‘in the same work but this time at page 345’.  For example, citing a particular book consecutively looks like this:
  • 12 PA McDermott, Contract law (Butterworth Ireland, Dublin 2001) 251.
  • 13 ibid 324.
  • [This means ‘in the same work, but this time at page 324.]
  • Alternatively, you can repeat a reference by using ‘n’ to refer to an earlier footnote (more details can be found in the full handbook).
  • Whichever method you choose, it is important to be consistent and not switch back and forth between methods.

This guide presents examples of how to reference textual sources.  However if you use material from non-textual sources such as podcasts or documentaries you must also cite the source in full.

For details check out the OSCOLA Manual

Type Example
Journal - article from print journal

Joan O’Connor and Gerard Feeney, ‘Transfer pricing legislation in Ireland – a new reality?’ (2010) 23 IrTR (2) 45.

Publication information:

23 = Volume number

IrTR = Journal title abbreviation (see below for more on abbreviations)

2 = Issue number (only needed if the page numbers begin again for each issue)

45 = Page number (the first page number only is usually sufficient)

eJournal – full text article an electronic database

D Brooke, ‘Police interrogation: for justice not punishment – part I’ (2010) 28 ILT 22 <> accessed 3 June 2010.

eJournal – full text article from a free open-access online journal

J Mulcahy, ‘Duty of care’ (2010)  104 GLSI (4) 34 <> accessed 3 June 2010.

Legal Abbreviations:

Type Example

Irish Statute – Bill or Act

Arbitration Act, 2010.


Irish Statute – Statutory Instrument


Solicitors Acts 1954 TO 2008 (Section 44) Regulations 2009  SI 2010/35.


EU Legislation – from the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ)


Council Regulation (EC) 260/2009 of 26 February 2009 on the common rules for imports [2009] OJ L84/1.

Reported Judgment (Ireland)

Within the text of an assignment you would simply refer to the names of the two parties, like so: Quinlivan v O'Dea⁴⁶

⁴⁶  Maurice Quinlivan v Willie O'Dea [2010] 1 ILRM 72

Publication information:

1 = Volume number

ILRM =  Publication title abbreviation (see below for more on abbreviations).

72 = Page number

Reported Judgment (UK) – All England Law Reports

Gill & Anor v l Vino Co. Ltd. [1993] 1 All ER 398

Unreported Judgment

Christopher Giblin v Irish Life & Permanent Plc [2010] IEHC 36 (unreported).

Court information:  As the case was  not reported in an official law report, the judgment is referred to by the court in which it was handed down In this example it was the High Court: IEHC = High Court (Ireland)

Law Reform Commission Report (Ireland)

Law Reform Commission, ‘Report: corporate killing’ (LRC 77-2005) [4.22].

Publication information:

LRC = Law Reform Commission

77-2005 = Law Com Number (found on report; always includes the year)

4.22 = Paragraph number

Legal Abbreviations:

Evaluating Websites: You should always ask the question ‘Is this website reliable?’ when using the internet for research. Check out the guide to ‘Evaluating Websites’ for further details.

Type Example

Web page with an individual author

C Baksi, ‘Solicitors support advocacy quality assurance scheme’ (2010) <>  accessed 4 June 2010.

Web page with an organisation as author

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, ‘Credit Supply Clearing Group’ (2010) <> accessed 24 May 2010.

Web page with no author and no date

‘Irish Redundancy Payments Scheme’ (no date) <> accessed 4 June 2010.

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