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OSCOLA (Law) Referencing Guide

OSCOLA Law referencing guidance

UK Cases


You should include the full party names in your text – the law report reference is then placed in the footnote. Unless it would not be clear to which case you are referring, you can generally refer to the case subsequently by the first party names only, example below:       

It is well represented in the case law, perhaps most notably in the expression of the no-conflict rule advocated by Lord Upjohn in Phipps v Boardman,¹ and in the earlier Court of Appeal decision in Boulting v Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians. ² 


¹ [1967] 2 AC 46 (HL).

² [1963] 2 QB 606 (CA).

Year use - Square or Round brackets

Use of square or round brackets depends on whether the date is essential to locate the case. If the date is essential because there are multiple volumes each year, square brackets are used. If the date is not essential because there is a unique volume number, put the year of judgment (not the year of publication) in round brackets.


R v Ahluwalia [1992] 4 All ER 889

Barrett v Enfield LBC (1999) 49 BMLR 1 (HL)



A pinpoint is a reference to a particular paragraph of a judgment or page of a report. If the judgment has numbered paragraphs (as will generally be the case where there is a neutral citation), pinpoint to a particular paragraph by putting the relevant paragraph number in square brackets.

If pinpointing to more than one paragraph, separate the paragraph numbers in square brackets with a comma.

If citing spans of paragraphs, insert a dash between the first and last paragraph being cited.

Callery v Gray [2001] EWCA Civ 1117, [2001] 1 WLR 2112 [42], [45]

Bunt v Tilley [2006] EWHC 407 (QB), [2006] 3 All ER 336 [1]–[37]

UK Cases referencing with a neutral citation

Cases with a neutral citation

Case Name Neutral Citation, Report Citation

Neutral Citation = [Year] Abbreviation for Court | Case Number

Report Citation = [(Year)] Volume | Abbreviation for Law Report | Page number



[2017] UKSC 3, [2017] AC 964.

Footnote: pinpointing a page

[2017] UKSC 3, [2017] AC 964, 980.

Footnote: pinpointing a judge

[2017] UKSC 3, [2017] AC 964 [8]-[10] (Lord Mance JSC).


Case names are not italicised, pinpointing is not used and there is no full stop at the end of the reference

Belhaj v Straw [2017] UKSC 3, [2017] AC 964

UK Cases referencing without neutral citation

Cases without a neutral citation

Case Name [(Year)] Volume Number | Abbreviation for Law Report | Page number | (Court abbreviated)



[1893] 1 QB 256 (CA).

Footnote: Pinpointing a page

[1893] 1 QB 256 (CA), 259.

Footnote: Pinpointing a Judge

[1893] 1 QB 256 (CA), 259, 261-262 (Lindley LJ).


Case names are not italicised, pinpointing is not used and there is no full stop at the end of the reference

Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co [1893] 1 QB 256 (CA)