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OSCOLA (Law) Referencing Guide

OSCOLA Law referencing guidance

Legal Encyclopaedias

Reference these as books but remember to include the edition and the year of issue. If an author is credited for a particular section, cite both the author and the title of the entry.

If citing an online encyclopedia give the web address and date of access.

Example below:

Leslie Green, ‘Legal Positivism’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall edn, 2009) <> accessed 20 November 2009.

Encyclopedia example in book format - shows pinpoint:

CJ Friedrich, ‘Constitutions and Constitutionalism’, International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences III (1968) 319

Halsbury’s Laws of England

Always include the volume and paragraph number. For the electronic 5th edition version, include <LexisLibrary> and the accessed date.

Examples Footnote with pinpoints:

Halsbury’s Laws (5th edn, 2016) 21, para 311.

Halsbury’s Laws (5th edn, 2023) vol 2, para 317 <LexisLibrary> accessed 14 December 2023.


In the Bibliography do not include specific location information, so the volume and paragraph numbers are not included. Do not include a full stop at the end of the Bibliography reference. 

Bibliography examples:

Halsbury’s Laws (5th edn, 2016)

Leslie Green, ‘Legal Positivism’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall edn, 2009) <> accessed 20 November 2009

Westlaw Topic Overviews or Legal Concepts

When referring to Topic Overviews or Legal Concepts, follow the guidelines for referencing a website but put the name of the database in place of the URL:

Topic Overview

Michelle Heeley, ‘Double jeopardy’, (Overview of Topic, 16 July 2016) <Westlaw> accessed 9 December 2023.

Key Legal Concept

Daniel Greenberg, 'Cabinet' (Key Legal Concept, 16 August 2020) <Westlaw> accessed 14 December 2020.

Lexis+ Practical Guidance

Practical Guidance This content was previously available via the Lexis PSL Platform 

Practical Guidance is now fully integrated with Legal Research on Lexis+, so you can see guidance and the underlying law it supports all in one place. If you are using a case, article or piece of legislation from Practical Guidance, then use the guidance in the previous sections above. 

For a topic overview use the appropriate topic area as the name of the encyclopaedia and reference as below.

'Unfair contract terms', LexisPSL Financial <LexisPSL> accessed 14 March 2023.

Legal Dictionaries

Legal Dictionaries For legal dictionaries on Westlaw, use the format below:

‘Jury’, Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary (11th edn, Westlaw edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2023)

For more authoritative references, use the Halsbury's Laws of England encyclopedia.