OSCOLA referencing style is used when submitting work for a module for the School of Law.  Due to the complexity of particular sources, some entries are very detailed.  Make sure to fully read each page.

  • Keep a careful note of all sources used as you prepare your assignments.  Make sure to capture permalinks or doi numbers for electronic resources.
  • Record all the details for library books (including page numbers for quotations) before returning it as the book may be unavailable later.
  • Write down the source details on any photocopies you make and that the copies are properly aligned so page numbers and headings are clearly visible.
  • Print or save details of any webpage you want to refer to (your tutor may ask to see this) and record the date when you accessed it.

    For details pertaining to particular types of sources, click on the More button below.

Primary Sources

  • Legal databases such as Westlaw and Lexis Library will usually list a number of citations. Use the most authoritative citations listed. Include any neutral citation (which will start either UK or EW) if given.  
  • Remove any full stops in an abbreviation.
  • Use the Cardiff Index of Legal Abbreviations to decipher journal abbreviations or to find the abbreviation for a particular journal.


  • Bibliographic details for a book are found on the front and back of the title page. Ignore reprint dates. Use the copyright date for whichever edition you are using. Do not include previous edition copyright dates.
  • Use only the publisher name, not the printer or typesetter.
  • The place of publication should be a town or a city, not a county or country. If in the UK, use just the town or city. If in the USA, add the two letter state code if confusion could arise e.g. Cambridge MA for Harvard University Press. If more than one place of publication is listed, use the first one.
  • The library catalogue gives the place of publication and publisher's name.
  • If you no longer have the book, try and retrace your search. If you borrowed the book via the library, look at your loan history under My Account in the library catalogue and check basic details. If it is something you read in the library check the catalogue for details. If you obtained the book from another source, Library Hub Discover https://discover.libraryhub.jisc.ac.uk is good for verifying bibliographical details.

Journal articles

  • Bibliographic details for journal articles are usually found on pages which contain the article, but you can also check the contents list or front cover of the journal issue. Legal databases such Lexis Library and Westlaw usually give you the correct abbreviation for a journal title. Use the Cardiff Index of Legal Abbreviations to identify the preferred abbreviation for journals. Remove full stops used to indicate abbreviations.

Electronic sources

  • Record all details (including any urls, permalinks or doi numbers) at the time of viewing. 
  • Access electronic sources again directly by using urls, permalinks, or doi numbers; retrace your research steps through the relevant database, e-book collection, etc.


  • Bibliographic details can be more difficult to identify, but examine the original item for creator information.
  • Information on feature films and television programmes can be found on IMDB (Internet Movie Database).
  • If you are tracking a specific DVD edition of a film to identify extras you may find the merchandising link useful.

Television and Radio programmes or recordings

  • Bibliographic details can be more difficult to identify, so try and capture as much information as possible at the time of viewing.
  • Television and radio channels may publish some information on their websites.
  • Finding details of these after the broadcast can be difficult. The best source of information is TRILT (Television and Radio Index for Learning and Teaching) which gives details of television and radio programmes schedules from 2001 onwards for over 330 different channels plus a substantial selection of terrestrial television programmes back to 1995. However, this may not give you responsibility data.
  • A general web search with what details you do have, may help track down a source for details.