Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Banner Image Main site Library home page Library home page

Referencing: OSCOLA Style

OSCOLA Ireland is a specific style of referencing, developed by the four academics from Irish universities 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: OSCOLA Ireland

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

For more information and examples, refer to Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2022) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 

Print version of this guide. 

How to create a Footnote: (in Microsoft Word 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: ...judges do not give effect to their own personal views as what sort of society we should live in".⁵⁹

Footnote: ⁵⁹ NJ McBride, Letters to a Law Student (4rd ed, Pearson Education, Harlow 2018) 3.

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  G Brennan and others, Landlord and Tenenat Law (7th edn,Oxford University Press, Oxford 2018).

Book - Editor 

⁵⁰  MN Shaw (ed), International Law (8th edn, Cambridge University Press,Cambridge 2017).

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

Book - Chapter in an Edited Book 

⁷⁴ J Heary, ‘Company Information ’ in J Cox (ed), Business Law (6th edn, Law Society of Ireland Manuals, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2015).

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

C Duff, `DPP v Doyle- The Road not Taken` (2018) 28 ICLI 1 <> accessed 6 September 2019.

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

A Carroll, `The Magdalene Laundries: An Ongoing Human Rights Violation`(2019)  COLR 38 < > accessed 6 September 2019.

Legal Abbreviations:

  • In legal writing and referencing, law reports and journals are always cited using an abbreviated version of the title.
  • Check out either of the following websites for an index of the most commonly used abbreviations:
Type Example

Irish Statute – Bill or Act

Marriage Act, 2015.


Irish Statute – Statutory Instrument


Companies Acts 2014 (Section 1408(2) Regulations 2019 S.I. 2019/192.


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: PMcD v Governor of X Prison⁴⁶

⁴⁶  PMcD v Governor of X Prison [2019] 1 ILRM 348

Publication information:

1 = Volume number

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

348 = Page number

Reported Judgment (UK) – All England Law Reports

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

Reported Judgment with neutral citation (UK)

Woolway v Mazars [2015] UKSC 53, [2015] AC 1562.

Reported Judgment with no neutral citation

O'Donovan v AG [1961] IR 144 (HC)

Cook v Financial Insurance Company [1998] 1 WLR 1765 (HL)

Legal Abbreviations:

  • In legal writing and referencing, law reports and journals are always cited using an abbreviated version of the title.
  • Check out either of the following websites for an index of the most commonly used 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 Slingo, `Facial recognition cameras proportionate despite privacy infringement`(2019) << >  accessed 6 September 2019.

Web page with an organisation as author

Department of Justice and Equality, `New online immigration registration renewal system for 3rd level students from outside Europe living in Dublin launched`(2019) < > accessed 6 Sepetmber 2019.

Web page with no author and no date

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



Online Help Desk:


More hours