The aim of this guide is to explain the importance of referencing as well as how to format references based on the OSCOLA style. It highlights examples from some of the most popular sources of UK and EU law, illustrating the conventions involved in legal academic writing. It is important to note that coursework, such as essays or dissertations, submitted by all Law students and all students studying Law modules as part of another discipline for assessment in the Law School should follow the examples provided in this guide.
Referencing is indicating in assignments when you have used material that has not originated with you. This might include factual information, data, images, opinion, direct quotation, or when you summarise or paraphrase the work of other people.
The majority of academic assignments measure your ability to understand, analyse and evaluate the work of others. It is important to remember that as a matter of policy referencing in the Law School carries a percentage (currently 5%) of the overall marks for an assignment and if undertaken appropriately will contribute to your grade and therefore your academic success.
Consequently, referencing is crucial as it informs the reader of the texts you have consulted during your research. The quality and relevance of these sources also forms part of the assessment. When writing assignments it is important to refer to every source cited in a clear and consistent way, this shows consideration for the reader as it enables them to check easily the legal authorities you have referred to and to follow the arguments or propositions you put forward.
Citing primary sources provides proof of authority and allows your reader to make an assessment about the strength of that authority.
Secondary sources (typically books and journal articles) provide explanations, comment upon and review the primary sources of law and are persuasive but are not the law itself.
The avoidance of plagiarism is an important aspect of Academic integrity. Plagiarism is when a person tries to pass off someone else's work as their own. It is therefore vital that other people's work is acknowledged and referenced properly.
The University has a page with information and guidance on Academic integrity, including information about plagiarism and good academic practice.