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OSCOLA (Law) Referencing Guide

OSCOLA Law referencing guidance

UK Legislation

Legislation includes Acts (Statutes) and Bills 

Before a new Act can be created, the Government will normally produce a White Paper or a consultation document on the topic, to outline their ideas. 

This will be put before Parliament as a draft act, known as a Bill, and will be discussed and amended. 


When you are creating a footnote to a specific part of a Statute, you use abbreviations for the relevant part: s or ss for section or sections, Pt (Part), or Sch and para (schedule and paragraph). You may also need sub-s or sub-ss for subsection and subsections or subpara for subparagraphs.

Format: Short Title year,  s section number(subsection)(paragraph)

Remember to leave a space between the 's' and the section number. There are no spaces after the section number, additional information is given in bracket. See examples below.


Human Rights Act 1998, s 15(1)(b).

Civil Partnership Act 2004 sch 5

UK Legislation References

Acts are also known as statutes.

A citation in a footnote is not required when citing legislation if all the information the reader needs about the source is provided in the text, as in the following sentence:

This case highlights the far-reaching judicial role ushered in by the Human Rights Act 1998.

Where the text does not include the name of the Act or the relevant section, the information should be provided in the footnote in the following format.

Act of Parliament include:

Act/Statute: Short Title | Year.



Human Rights Act 1998.

Footnote: pinpointing a section (subsection) (paragraph)

Human Rights Act 1998, s 15(1)(b).


Human Rights Act 1998


Bills are proposals for legislation heard in both the House of Commons HC and House of Lords HL.

To reference a Bill include the Short title House in which it originated Bill (Parliamentary session) Running number. Running number changes every time the bill is reprinted. Use square brackets for House of Commons [ ] running numbers. For the House of Lords leave as just the number. 



Title HC Bill (session) [number].

Health and Safety at Work (Offences) HC Bill (2002-03) [38].

Title HL Bill (session) number.

Harbours HL Bill (2002-03) 24.

If you refer to a specific part of a Bill for example a clause this should be abbreviated to cl or cls for clauses.

Footnote: pinpointing a cl or cls (subpart).

Title HC Bills (session) [number], clause (subpart).

Consolidated Fund HC Bill (2008-9) [5], cl 8(2).

Title HL Bills (session) number, clause (subpart).

Academies HL Bill (2010-11) 1, cl 5(3).


Health and Safety at Work (Offences) HC Bill (2002-03) [38]

Harbours HL Bill (2002-03) 24