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Referencing - International Law: Welcome

Introduction to OSCOLA

Purpose of this guide

This guide is the BU version of the Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) guide, Citing International Law Sources (2006). Please note that some changes have been made to the original guidance from OSCOLA.

For a LAW assignment, you must cite references in two places:

If you wish to cite UK and EU legal materials, see the Referencing - UK & EU Law

Law of other jurisdictions

This guide covers how to reference primary legal materials from international organisations, for example United Nations treaties. It does not cover how to reference primary legal materials from national jurisdictions, for example case law from France.

OSCOLA provides the following general guidance:

  • Cite legislation from other jurisdictions as it is cited in its own jurisdiction, but without any full stops in abbreviations. Give the jurisdiction if necessary, for example: Accident Compensation Act 1972 (NZ)
  • Cite cases from other jurisdictions as they are cited in their own jurisdiction, but with minimal punctuation. If the name of the law report series cited does not itself indicate the court, and the identity of the court is not obvious from the context, you should also give this in either full or short form in brackets at the end of the citation.

Who should use this guide

  • If you are a LAW student, you should use this guide to help you cite ALL types of sources in your work. You should use the footnote system of referencing, which is conventional in legal academic writing
  • If you are NOT a law student, you should ONLY use this guide to help you cite legal materials (cases and legislation). You should NOT use the footnote system of referencing. The majority of courses at BU require you to use the Harvard system of referencing, see BU Guide to Citation and Referencing in the Harvard Style. Psychology students should follow APA style. History students should follow Chicago Style.

Why you need to reference

  • When writing a piece of work, you need to indicate in the text where you have referred to sources written or produced by others
  • Consistency and accuracy of referencing is important to verify quotations, and enable readers to follow up and read cited author’s arguments
  • Referencing is necessary to avoid plagiarism which is a serious offence against University rules
  • You should follow the examples in this guide every time you cite and reference.